EPIC and the Supreme Court, Nurse Burnout, and Magic Wands

Alloy #26 – Week of September 21, 2020

Hey everyone,

Last week we:

  • Met to continue refining our development scope for our first product

  • Continued building said product – launch will be coming soon I hope!

  • Started planning V2 features

  • Set up a help center and FAQ for our first product

This week we:

  • Continue building our V1

  • Scoping and designing templating for V2

  • Variable formatting for V2


EPIC and the Supreme Court

While this tweet is tongue-in-cheek. It does give an excellent idea of how hard EHRs and, specifically, EPIC are to use. EPIC is notoriously difficult to use and unfortunately, they aren’t the only ones.

The thing that boggles my mind is, why, if so many people create memes, parody twitter accounts, and run study and after study, are EHRs still so difficult to use. My guess is that massive UX and UI improvements just aren’t seen as a cost effective way of helping hospitals and practices get paid more. Additionally, many recent articles are touting the importance of using NLU, AI, and the like in EHRs. However, very few articles tout the importance of typographic hierarchy, accessibility, lower cognitive load, smart system architecture, and flexible design systems.


Nurse Burnout

KLAS found in a recent study that about a third of nurses reporting burnout say it is because of their EHR. Thankfully, overall only about 25% of nurses report being burned out. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if several other burnout causes are at least indirectly due to or made worse by the EHR. Specifically when it comes to bureaucratic tasks. I would wager that “Too much time spent on bureaucratic tasks” can be at least lessened by the EHR when it comes to documentation or communication tasks. This is a good reminder that the issues of the EHR don’t only apply to doctors.


Waving 'a magic wand' over the EHR

Becker’s Health IT recently asked seven hospital executives what they would do if they could wave a magic wand over their EHR. Dr. Daniel Durand, of Life Bridge Health, had the most interesting point:

If I could wave a magic wand, it would be deep integration between the structured and unstructured data fields within the EHR in quasi real-time availability with really deep machine learning tools so we could look for actionable trends, whether it's patients that are deteriorating or spending, marketing or diagnostic trends.

The magic wand question has long been used by user researchers and designers. It’s an excellent question to ask as it gives your participant an opportunity to dream about what they want. I’ve asked this question several times and have gotten excellent responses.

Dr. Durand’s answer confirms a lot of what we have been working on. The difference between inputting structured and unstructured data creates too many pain points for clinician users.

Our solution aims to use these technologies to help clinicians document and extract relevant data quickly and easily with a low cognitive load. The end result is that they are able to spend more meaningful time with patients and not have to babysit their computers.

Project Alloy is a passion project started in 2017 by Robert Floyd, a Savannah-based product designer. Project Alloy aims to redefine what the EHR is and how it functions.

You can find more information at alloyhealthcare.org

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