Electronic Health Record (EHR) Study



The use of EHRs are required; however, current EHR products are poorly designed in regards to support the information acquisition and decision making


To understand (cognitive) information requirements of primary-care team members


  1. What information requirements do primary care-team members need in performing patient-care work?

  2. How is the information used to form a decision?


Observations, interviews, qualitative data analysis (content analysis)


A map of information requirements of primary-care team members

Next step: to design an EHR interface based on the information requirements (in another project)

Study design

In this study, we chose to use the method of Goal-Directed Task Analysis (GDTA; see more examples on Google Scholar), which is a special type of cognitive task analysis method. Main reasons include:

  • It overcomes the limitation of variation in workflow among different clinics

  • It provides a systematic way of analyzing data and documenting findings

  • It can transfer to interface design easily later on


Study process

For each clinic, we followed an iterative process of data collection & analysis:

  • We start studying each user by observing their daily work, focusing on their interaction with the computer system

  • Observation notes are reviewed and group discussions are held to come up with interview guide

  • Semi-structured interviews are performed with the user thereafter

  • After each interview session, we review the transcripts and briefly analyze the data to come up with follow-up questions for the next interview with this user

  • Each user is interviewed 1-3 times depending on their schedule



The example below shows a snippet of our study outcome and the process behind:


Next steps

Based on the information requirements generated in this study, we are working on designing an EHR interface based on the information requirements


Please feel free to let me know your thoughts about this study and I would be more than happy to chat with you :D