Study: No vendor has a lock on EHR usability

Electronic health record vendors need to improve the usability of their products and provide more guidance to their provider clients, according to a new study by Orem, Utah, research firm KLAS.

In its study of 128 physician leaders, KLAS found that no vendor scored above a four (on a scale from one to five) in clinical usability. Epic scored the highest at four, while Cerner and Siemens each came in at 3.7. Allscripts scored a 3.5, with McKesson Paragon at 3.4 and MEDITECH v. 6 at 3.

The study also found that providers want their vendors to expend more effort to make their EHRs more usable. Most providers, 86 percent, made moderate to extensive efforts to configure their EHR systems to improve usability. Epic clients reported the least amount of effort needed and the best capability at the "go live" stage; it also scored the highest with regard to effectiveness in guiding providers. Cerner and Epic were labeled as "best poised" to support "deep clinical usage."

The report also determined that of various medical specialties, surgery found EHR systems to be significantly less usable than the norm, followed by oncology, ICU and orthopedics.

"[T]here is more to usability than just how many mouse clicks a task takes," report author Colin Buckley said, according to a KLAS announcement.

This is not the first time that vendors have been called to task for selling EHRs that are difficult to use. Providers have been long been hampered by problems in using their EHR systems, causing frustration and slowing government efforts to transition the industry to EHRs.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- purchase the report