Hi fellow Clinical Informaticists, CMIOs, CNIOs, and other HealthIT friends,
A short post this time - Just sharing how terminology management can impact EMR usability.
Managing an enterprise EMR is a lot like owning a closet. Information is stored in certain virtual 'drawers', where people (users) get used to storing and finding the information they need to do their jobs.
The problem is, just like closets - Exactly where and how people like to store this information is an intensely personal, cognitively-driven process. If you have ever had to share a closet, you probably know how challenging it can be to share a closet with another person.
Now, imagine having to share a closet with 500 people. The first step would be getting all 500 people together for a meeting, and discussing/reviewing :
- Where should we keep the socks?
- Where should we keep the pants?
- Where should we keep the shirts?
- ... have an easily-identifable pattern associated with your information storage and retrieval, and...
- ... if you label things correctly.
"Call it what it is."
Suppose a user is looking for an apple.
In scenario #1 above, if we just refer to apples and oranges as "fruit" - users will need to spend time clicking through both boxes, looking for the apple. It might be in the left box, or the right box - They are both labeled "Box of Fruit", and fruit is not a granular enough term to identify the exact tool the user is looking for (an apple).
In scenario #2 above, it's easy to find an apple. The first box is labeled, "Box of Apples".
So it's always very helpful to :
- understand and anticipate what the user will be looking for, and...
- understand the clinical terminology and associated hierarchies, and...
- call it what it is.