<img src="https://secure.visionary-data-intuition.com/794280.png" style="display:none;">
Skip to content

Overcoming Top 5 EHR Usability Challenges

| April 1, 2024 | By
Doctor on a computer dealing with common EHR usability challenges created by a lack of EHR personalization
Doctor on a computer dealing with common EHR usability challenges created by a lack of EHR personalization

How easily can you navigate patient data and manage clinical tasks? An efficient electronic health record (EHR) system can significantly impact your daily workflow—and EHR usability can make or break the experience.

Do you find yourself navigating through a clunky interface or struggling to find crucial patient information in a sea of digital clutter? This doesn’t have to be part of your routine! Journey with us as we examine the importance of EHR usability, uncovering the benefits of a user-friendly EHR and how to overcome usability challenges to streamline your organization.

Understanding EHR Usability

How easy is it for your clinicians to use your EHR solution? Usability is impacted by various factors. It can make life easier or be a driving factor for burnout. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society uses the System Usability Scale (SUS) testing tool, which measures three aspects of usability:

  • Effectiveness: How easy it is to perform a given task
  • Efficiency: The ability to achieve an intended result with minimal time, effort, and expense
  • User satisfaction: User feedback answering 10 questions with rankings from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”

SUS scores range from zero to 100, but you should aim for the stars. Let’s look at why EHR usability is so important.

Solving 5 EHR Usability Challenges

EHR usability is essential for your hospital, directly impacting provider satisfaction, patient care, and efficiency. Investing in the right solutions optimizes EHR functionality and effectiveness, solving several overarching problems.

1. Intuitive Interface 

A complex interface requires heavy interaction—adding more clicks, scrolls, and time to your workflow—and increases the chance of error and burnout. You should be able to know what’s going on with patients at a glance. An effective EHR provides access to the right information in a format that’s easy to understand.

2. Workflow Efficiency

If EHR capabilities and end user needs don’t jive, you may not even be able to execute core workflows. Minimize clinician burden with an EHR that is personalized to deliver every time. When your EHR is designed for your needs, you can mitigate disruptions to clinical workflows that would otherwise cause stress and burnout.

3. Interoperability and Accessibility

Can your systems talk to one another? Is clinically relevant information available to you? Poor interoperability inside your EHR or between systems can hurt communication, while lack of accessibility impedes care. 

You’ve been here before: You need patient records from different departments and access to certain parts of their records. But without these pieces, you can’t answer essential care needs.

4. Data Entry

You get used to a set routine, and when something changes in your software, it can completely throw off work processes and EHR data entry. You’re used to certain details being listed in particular fields, and if those key pieces move around, mistakes happen. This can lead to inaccurate dosing and patient health complications. The solution? A personalized EHR that’s created with your needs in mind.

5. Security and Privacy 

Usability isn’t just about day-to-day ease and access. If your EHR can’t protect patient data at the same time, it opens you up to liability issues. The software you choose needs to incorporate security measures and compliance controls to ensure data integrity, confidentiality, and availability. This includes:

  • Compliance with United States Core Data for Interoperability and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources standards
  • Advanced encryption to mitigate risks

EHR Usability Benefits for Providers and Patients

When you prioritize EHR usability, you can streamline workflows, reduce cognitive load, minimize errors, and enhance patient safety. A user-friendly EHR promotes adoption, helping both productivity and patient outcomes.

Higher EHR Adoption Rates

Think back to email, mobile phones, or even streaming. The easier a technology is to use, the more people will use it. And the same is true for EHRs, where high usability scores lead to higher adoption. To increase adoption, strive for a solution that’s easy to navigate, intuitive to use, and has appropriate training to match.

According to a 2022 survey by the KLAS Arch Collaborative, training for clinicians impacts EHR usability, adoption, and satisfaction. The survey noted higher satisfaction and adoption when workflow training eased the learning curve of EHRs with robust functionalities—helping users navigate the interface. Additionally, when EHRs are paired with specialty-specific training, users are 25 times more likely to agree that the software meets their needs.

Fewer Medical Mistakes 

Inefficient and difficult-to-use systems cause stress and lead to mistakes, but the right EHR makes all the difference. In fact, poor EHR usability is associated with higher odds of surgical patient mortality and 30-day readmission. Switching to an EHR that is easy to use improves task efficiency and helps catch potentially harmful medical errors.

Reduced Clinician Burnout

Your EHR should make life easier, and yet so many systems complicate matters instead. Nearly three-quarters of clinicians with burnout symptoms attribute a large portion of their struggles to poor EHR usability. Their EHR-related burnout stems from:

  • Documentation burden
  • Electronic messaging overload
  • Cognitive fatigue
  • Time demands

If you’re busy trying to get your EHR to do what you need, everything else suffers. That means less time with patients and more emotional exhaustion, which impacts patient satisfaction and care quality, increases the risk of errors, and eventually leads to turnover. But if the system is easy to use, clinicians can better avoid burnout.

Decreased Costs 

You don’t have to have a mountain of administrative costs. A user-friendly EHR can reduce costs associated with medical records management, inefficient workflows, and medical errors.

Data location and specificity can vary widely throughout an EHR system and become more disorganized when information isn’t linked. If you choose a system that improves data visualization and links relevant data within EHR dashboards, it can drive down information access costs.

Improved Patient Medication Safety

Medication can mean the difference between effective and ineffective medical care. EHR usability is linked to patient safety, especially pertaining to medication ordering and monitoring:

  • Drug-drug interactions
  • Drug allergy
  • Therapeutic duplication
  • Drug age
  • Drug dosing 
  • Drug route

Research shows a positive association between safety performance and user perceptions of EHR usability.

Maximize the Benefits of Your Software with EHR Personalization 

EHR usability determines whether patient records are organized or disorganized, care measures are accurate or inaccurate, and clinician teams are productive or burned out. Don’t wrestle with your software, trying to navigate the interface or make systems communicate accurately. Personalization is the key to overcoming obstacles to quality records and patient care.

Discover how Juno EHR answers your needs. Our world-class EHR is built BY clinicians FOR clinicians, ensuring the software can stand up to your most rigorous demands. Take our assessment to understand your personalization maturity and get actionable next steps on the road to EHR personalization.

Doctor and patient looking at patient care plan