Design and implementation of a hospital-based usability laboratory: Insights from a department of veterans affairs laboratory for health information technology

Alissa L. Russ, Michael Weiner, Scott A. Russell, Darrell A. Baker, W. Jeffrey Fahner, Jason J. Saleem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Although the potential benefits of more usable health information technologies (HIT) are substantial- reduced HIT support costs, increased work efficiency, and improved patient safety-human factors methods to improve usability are rarely employed. The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has emerged as an early leader in establishing usability laboratories to inform the design of HIT, including its electronic health record. Experience with a usability laboratory at a VA Medical Center provides insights on how to design, implement, and leverage usability laboratories in the health care setting. Implementation: The VA Health Services Research and Development Service Human-Computer Interaction & Simulation Laboratory emerged as one of the first VA usability laboratories and was intended to provide researchbased findings about HIT designs. This laboratory supports rapid prototyping, formal usability testing, and analysis tools to assess existing technologies, alternative designs, and potential future technologies. Results of Implementation: Although the laboratory has maintained a research focus, it has become increasingly integrated with VA operations, both within the medical center and on a national VA level. With this resource, datadriven recommendations have been provided for the design of HIT applications before and after implementation. Conclusion: The demand for usability testing of HIT is increasing, and information on how to develop usability laboratories for the health care setting is often needed. This article may assist other health care organizations that want to invest in usability resources to improve HIT. The establishment and utilization of usability laboratories in the health care setting may improve HIT designs and promote safe, high-quality care for patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-540
Number of pages10
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Volume38
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management

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