2006 EHR WfMS Tutorial Slides 30-35: EMR EHR Usability Principles and Workflow: Consistency

(Take me to the beginning of these slides!)

From Chapter 7: Natural Language Processing, Business Process Management, and Adaptive Case Management in Healthcare in How Knowledge Workers Get Things Done: Real-World Adaptive Case Management:

From screen-to-screen, are data and order-entry widgets, what and where you’d expect based on prior interactions with the EHR? Consistent screens, voice interactions, and workflows exploit what cognitive psychologists call positive learning transfer.

Does what you learn on one screen, or in one workflow, help you deal more accurately and speedily with other screens and workflows? I am reminded of my Accountancy and Finance courses, where we learned about amortization of cost over multiple time periods. Each interaction is costly, in effort, time, and mistakes. Whatever you learn from one interaction that benefits you on other interactions reduces the total cost of using the EHR.



  • “reliable”
  • “reproducable”
  • “coherent”
  • “orderly, logical and aesthetically related parts”


Steering a Bicycle: Consistency

Bicycle behaves similarly when handled similarly in similar environments. Obvious example: turns the same when rider leads the same way and turns the handlebars the same way.


MS Office Toolbars are Consistent

Across the first four or five positions in the toolbar, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and FrontPage [is that still around?] are the same or similar.


EMR EHR Consistency

  • Does the interface do similar things in similar ways?
  • Does the EHR accomplish similar tasks with similar screens, menus, buttons, prompts, and messages?
  • Doing so will accelerate learning and minimize frustration.
  • Example: OK (“Proceed”) button always same place


Consistent EMR EHR User Interface

The OK button (indicating that the screens task has been accomplished or is no longer relevant, so please move to the next task in the workflow) is in the same place, screen to screen.


Consistent EMR EHR Workflow

  • Degree EHR reinforces and relies on user expectations.
  • Process definitions enforce (and reinforce) consistent user interactions with respect to task goals and context.
  • Consistency plus practice effect leads to highly automated interleaved behavior.
  • and increased speed and accuracy

(Take me to the beginning of these slides!)

Related links:

EHR/EMR Usability: Natural, Consistent, Relevant, Supportive, Flexible Workflow

TEPR 2004 EHR Workflow Management System Slides

Based on the slide deck used for three-hour tutorial at the 2004 TEPR conference in Fort Lauderdale.

TEPR 2006 EHR Workflow Management Systems Slides

Based on the slide deck used for three-hour tutorial at the 2006 TEPR Conference in Baltimore.

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