Consumer perspective getting lost in PCEHR debate

Melbourne-based digital design consultancy Navy Design is planning to undertake a month-long research project to gauge consumer attitudes towards the design and functionality of the PCEHR in the hopes that it can inform the current ministerial review into the system.

Navy Design's general manager Michael Trounce said the consumer perspective had been lost in the debates over the clinical utility of the PCEHR, in particular the fundamental usability of the system, which he believes is not particularly user friendly.

“We believe you have to spend lots of time with the people who are going to be using the system, but that doesn't seem to have happened with the design of the PCEHR,” Mr Trounce said.

“It needs a lot more development, in our opinion.”

Mr Trounce said the plan was to recruit a group of consumers and test the system with them in their homes, asking them to create a record and then assess its relative difficulties.

“We then hope to release a report that can inform the debate,” he said. “We want to be constructive and to highlight what is wrong with the system and suggest some ways it can be improved.”

Navy Design is currently assisting an aged care software provider with a similar project, working with the vendor to improve the usability of the software for clinicians. Mr Trounce said Navy Design's philosophy was to solve design problems by working first-hand with the end users.

While the PCEHR has been designed as a clinical record, there is no reason why it could not be more attractive and easy to use, he said.

“When it comes to eHealth, the quality of the user experience can have a direct impact on health outcomes. That’s when good design is really critical. This perspective can be lost when projects are delivered with a focus on IT rather than people.”

Posted in Australian eHealth


0 # dw 2013-11-15 18:08
Not quite sure Mr Trounce is truly going get much value looking at empty shell PCEHRs. Asking consumers to create a record and then assess its relative difficulties, without there being any information within it (except for maybe some clinically irrelevant MBS and PBS items) looks to be a slight waste of time. Sure, the interface is clunky and may contribute to the lack of uptake by consumers but the real issue lies in the distinct lack of content in the record.
0 # Colin 2013-11-15 19:48
Constructive is highlighting what is good and bad. It isn't all bad and an objective report should indicate this.

Also, most consumers aren't creating their own record but are being assisted by hospitals, GP practices and at various events via the Assisted Registration Tool, so asking them to create one from scratch doesn't appear to be a particularly useful exercise?

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