Recent public discussion and several studies indicate that information systems used in health care include serious deficiencies that make professional clinicians work slower and more complicated. Generally, this applies both to public and private sector. According to Finnish Medical Association (FMA) over 600 doctors annual labor input is wasted due to inefficient information systems. In Finland, public sector bureaucracy, information systems rigidity and loss of control to own work have found to reduce doctors willingness to work in public healthcare. One important notion is that if only the information systems currently used in Finnish health care would work on the level they were expected, the current number of doctors would be enough for comprehensive health care for Finnish people.
In the future, systems are expected to streamline healthcare and to positively contribute to increasing shortage of workforce - or at least to get along with the current workforce. For the clinicians ease of use and functional quality are important aspects. Secondly, information systems should not make any compromises when dealing with patient privacy and information security.
All this implies that user perspective is easily neglected in the development of healthcare information systems. On the other hand, so far there have not been a decent way to monitor actual user experience of clinicians at work.
Therefore, by finding a way to monitor the clinicians work we can help to spot the critical development areas of information systems. Monitoring of working processes increases awareness of user groups, environment of use and content of the work. Furthermore, by capturing critical events of use with the help of monitoring, we can understand main problems and eventually what the users expect. This is crucial information for several stakeholders: end users (doctors, nurses, etc.), healthcare service provides (hospitals, health centers, etc.), and information system vendors. Monitoring of user group generates vast amount of recorded data, but the idea is to smoothen further process development by spotting the most critical events and providing relevant suggestions based on them.
This approach enables upcoming and existing information systems to support healthcare processes and services and remove those problems that cause wasted labor hours. Even if we can achieve just 10% decrease in wasted working hours by removing problems found in the systems, we really can make a difference for healthcare sector.
The focus area should be on practical monitoring solutions, usability and user interface (UI) of patient information systems, and on development of applications that enable collaboration and interaction between people. Healthcare informatics usability and testing practices should match the operating environment, and thus, it should be done with suitable tools.
Adusso's UXblackbox technology have been used and proved already, for example, when evaluating large public healthcare patient information systems and in development of other healthcare informatics. Also technology have been applied to develop usability of patient monitoring devices. This is a straightforward approach to evaluate systems and to design solutions to meet actual end-user needs.