A review of healthcare information system usability & safety

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2013;183:151-6.


Healthcare information systems have been designed to increase the efficiency and safety of healthcare processes. Systems such as electronic health records and pervasive computing devices have been shown to improve the safety of healthcare. However, increasing research has indicated that the design of such systems, in particular the user interface, may be related to increased incidence of other types of error. In this review, the relationship between human factors and usability will be considered in the context of designing safe and effective healthcare applications, with a focus on hand-held computing devices. Medline was searched for the specific terms listed below and restricted to the date ranges 2006-01-01 through to 2011-03-03: (error AND technology AND human factors); (error AND (CPOE OR (Computerized AND provider AND order AND entry))); (Technology AND Induced AND Error). The returned list of papers was screened by examining titles and abstracts to select candidate papers for further review. The initial search yield was 239 papers. On reviewing the title and abstract, 186 were rejected and 51 papers remained for analysis. New technology, such as CPOE, offers improvements over traditional paper tools and it is shown to have a positive effect on patient safety. New technology also creates the opportunity for new errors to occur and lead to the coining of the term "technology-induced error". The magnitude of the usability-testing needs is larger than it may seem.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electronic Health Records / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Information Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control*
  • Medical Errors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Safety / statistics & numerical data*