NIST Releases Guidance for Testing Electronic Health Record Usability

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On Tuesday, the National Institute of Standards and Technology released technical guidance for evaluating the usability of electronic health record systems, FierceEMR reports.

Guidance Details

NIST said the guidance incorporates comments received following the release of draft guidance in September 2011.

The new guidance outlines a three-part usability protocol and procedures for design evaluation and user testing of EHR systems (Hirsch, FierceEMR, 3/21).

The three-step protocol includes:

  • Analyzing the EHR system's functionality;
  • Conducting an expert review of the EHR system; and
  • Performing validation testing of the user interface.

According to NIST, the protocol assesses whether the EHR system can:

  • Contain, collect and display the correct information;
  • Ensure that users understand the information; and
  • Allow users to easily locate needed information (NIST release, 3/20).

NIST researcher Matt Quinn said that the guidance "will provide a way for developers and evaluators to objectively assess how easy their EHR systems are to learn and operate, while maximizing efficiency" (FierceEMR, 3/21).


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