Current Challenges and Opportunities for Better Integration of Human Factors Research with Development of Clinical Information Systems

Journal: IMIA Yearbook
ISSN: 0943-4747

Closing the Loops in Biomedical Informatics

Issue: 2009: IMIA Yearbook 2009
Pages: 48-58

Current Challenges and Opportunities for Better Integration of Human Factors Research with Development of Clinical Information Systems

Section 2: Human Factors and Organizational Issues


J. J. Saleem (1-4), A. L. Russ (1,2), P. Sanderson (5), T. R. Johnson (6), J. Zhang (6), D. F. Sittig (6,7)

(1) Veterans Affairs Health Services Research & Development Center on Implementing Evidence-Based Practice, Indianapolis, IN, USA; (2) Indiana University Center for Health Services & Outcomes Research, Indianapolis, IN, USA; (3) Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, IN, USA; (4)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, IUPUI, Indianapolis, IN, USA; (5) The University of Queensland and National ICT Australia, St Lucia, QLD, Australia; (6) The University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences, Houston, TX, USA; (7) UT – Memorial Hermann Center for Healthcare Quality & Safety, Houston, TX, USA


Computerized Medical Record, clinical information systems, Clinical decision support systems, human factors, human information processing


Objectives: Clinical information system (CIS) developers and implementers have begun to look to other scientific disciplines for new methods, tools, and techniques to help them better understand clinicians and their organizational structures, clinical work environments, capabilities of clinical information and communications technology, and the way these structures and processes interact. The goal of this article is to help CIS researchers, developers, implementers, and evaluators better understand the methods, tools, techniques, and literature of the field of human factors. Methods: We developed a framework that explains how six key human factors topics relate to the design, implementation, and evaluation of CISs. Results: Using this framework we discuss the following six topics: 1) informatics and patient safety; 2) user interface design and evaluation; 3) workflow and task analysis; 4) clinical decision making and decision support; 5) distributed cognition; and 6) mental workload and situation awareness. Conclusions: Integrating the methods, tools, and lessons learned from each of these six areas of human factors research early in CIS design and incorporating them iteratively during development can improve user performance, user satisfaction, and integration into clinical workflow. Ultimately, this approach will improve clinical information systems and healthcare delivery.

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