EHR redesign to support cognitive work
Current electronic health records (EHRs) are not optimized to help clinicians think about, diagnose or treat patient problems, and do not optimally support teamwork in primary care. This project develops new EHR interfaces (data displays and inputs) to support primary care providers and their teams. Funded by a R01 grant, we have analyzed the cognitive needs of primary care users and created interfaces in which information is easily accessible for decision-making, while addressing the deficiencies of existing EHR designs.
The healthcare industry is increasingly aware of issues of sub-optimal care quality, waste and burnout, many of which are related to EHR usability (or lack thereof) and unrealized gains from EHR use. While EHR vendors are making changes to their products, many of these “improvements” are not based on an understanding of the cognitive needs of PCPs and their teams.
It is now well accepted in the healthcare informatics and research communities that current EHRs were not designed to support cognitive work and that this is the root of the problem with EHRs. In fact, the Request for Funding Announcement from AHRQ that led to funding the Tandem EHR project was a call to study cognitive work in healthcare and create a technology prototype, defining this as an area of great need. AHRQ agreed with us that PCPs and their teams in primary care were particularly in need of help.