Better usability, not more training

I have a vendor of HR and Time/Attendance software that does not have a clue when it comes to software usability.  Whenever we point out how difficult their software is to use, they are fond of telling us that these are “user training issues.”

Classic example: we were attempting to roll-out the first generation of their online employment application.  Employment candidates could not figure out how to save their entry.  It wasn’t apparent that the small floppy disk icon in the upper left corner was the submit button.  Firstly, the submit button should not be in the upper left.  Secondly, many of our candidates have never seen a floppy disk.

When we pointed this out they gave us response that has been programmed into their autonomic system since orientation: “That is a training issue.” Hello, these are people spread all across the country.  How do we train them to fill out a 5-minute application?

The fact is, you don’t need to train people on software that is designed well.  Nobody gets trained on eBay, or Monster, or Digg.  They are intuitive.  These organizations spend time watching how users interact with their tools and modify them based on what they learn.  If you are a software developer and you have the same people working on the presentation layer of the application as the logic layer you need to get a clue.  If you have an extra clue send it to me and I will forward it to my vendor.

This is an area where I have spent more evaluation time when considering a new purchase.  There is a huge cost to all of this user training that is completely unnecessary.  I would encourage IT leaders to make this a more heavily weighted portion of their evaluations going forward.

World Premier Video

Making it easy for physicians to do the right thing is the hallmark of our EHR initiative. This includes practicing medicine as supported by medical research (Evidence Based Medicine). Some physician claim this is cookbook medicine. This video is our response. The video is the brainchild of Dr. Pete Sanderson, Ministry’s talented CMIO. He makes a cameo in the video along with his Affinity counterpart, Dr. Paul Veregge.

EHR Resource Estimates

I don’t think most healthcare leaders understand the effort these Electronic Health Records systems require.  While the hardware and software expenses are significant, they are dwarfed by the level of implementation effort required.  I am working on a number of resource estimate models to implement a “fairly comprehensive” EHR for a 400 physician medical group.  While the hour estimates can vary be EHR product all of the estimates are breathtaking.  Currently, the high end of the range looks like 300,000 hours.  But, we still aren’t done scrubbing the numbers.