Comparative usability evaluation of consultation order templates in a simulated primary care environment

April Savoy, Himalaya Patel, Mindy E. Flanagan, Joanne Daggy, Alissa L. Russ, Michael Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Communication breakdowns in the referral process negatively impact clinical workflow and patient safety. There is a lack of evidence demonstrating the impact of published design recommendations addressing contributing issues with consultation order templates. This study translated the recommendations into a computer-based prototype and conducted a comparative usability evaluation. With a scenario-based simulation, 30 clinicians (referrers) participated in a within-group, counterbalanced experiment comparing the prototype with their present electronic order entry system. The prototype significantly increased satisfaction (Cohen's d = 1.80, 95% CI [1.19, 2.41], p <.001), and required significantly less mental effort (d = 0.67 [0.14, 1.20], p <.001). Regarding efficiency, the prototype required significantly fewer mouse clicks (mean difference = 29 clicks, p <.001). Although overall task time did not differ significantly (d = −0.05 [−0.56, 0.47]), the prototype significantly quickened identification of the appropriate specialty clinic (mean difference = 12 s, d = 0.98 [0.43, 1.52], p <.001). The experimental evidence demonstrated that clinician-centered interfaces significantly improved system usability during ordering of consultations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-32
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Ergonomics
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018


  • Communication and teamwork in health care
  • Health information technology
  • Mental workload
  • Outpatient care
  • Referrals
  • Usability/acceptance measurement and research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)

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