CHIME News

Publication: How Do Clinical Information Systems Affect the Cognitive Demands of General Practitioners?: Usability Study with a Focus on Cognitive Workload

23 November 2015

 A new paper in the Journal of Innovation in Health Informatics (formerly Informatics in Primary Care) reports an analysis of the cognitive demands of GP record systems in the UK. Poor usability is a common complaint about record systems and increased cognitive workload may impact on user satisfaction, user fatigue, clinical productivity and safety.

There is room for improvement in the design of some aspects of GP systems

The study - Ariza F, Kalra D, Potts HWW (2015). How do clinical information systems affect the cognitive demands of General Practitioners? Usability study with a focus on cognitive workload. Journal of Innovation in Health Informatics, 22(4):379-90. doi:10.14236/jhi.v22i4.85 - covered the main systems currently in use, including:

  • EMIS
  • SystmOne
  • INPS Vision
  • iSoft Synergy
  • Microtest Evolution.

There was no statistically significant difference between the systems, which may come as a relief to the suppliers! However, certain tasks were identified as making greater demands, notably including repeat prescribing. This suggests that there is room for improvement in the design of some aspects of GP systems.

Lead author Dr Ferran Ariza, a London GP, wrote the paper based on his dissertation for UCL’s MSc in Health Informatics, supervised by Prof Dipak Kalra. The graduate programme in Health Informatics is popular among GPs as well as many other professional groups (healthcare managers, IT staff, nurses, pharmacists etc.).

Students doing the MSc complete a dissertation consisting of a significant piece of research, either using their own research questions or connecting with ongoing research in the UCL Institute of Health Informatics. Several MSc dissertation projects have now been published as research papers.

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