PIH EMR USER INTERVIEW
Date: 18 Mar 2008 (by email)
Since June 2007
What do you use the EMR for?
I've been working with the EMR off-and-on since June 2007, looking at patient data for a research study on tuberculosis diagnosis. I search for charts by patient name, then go through the data on the individual forms and record medical history, physical signs and symptoms, diagnoses, lab tests, and chest xray findings. I use the EMR about once or twice a month, for 5-6 hours.
What works well (and why):
- Searching by name is easy, and it is great that the search will find "close matches" to the spelling you entered. This is really vital, since there is often variation in how names are spelled, and whether they are first or last names.
- The "summary page" of the patients was very helpful, though some useful variables seemed to be non-functional (see below).
What doesn’t work well (and why):
- It would have been nice to be able to search for patients by EMR ID number. It would also help if the EMR had all the patients entered, which I know you guys already know and are working towards - it just really limits the utility of the EMR if the patient information isn't current.
- Some variables regarding patient information weren't filled-in or functional. For example, there was a variable for "chest xray" on the patient summary page that was always blank, even when the chart data itself showed a chest xray was done (when you looked through the individual forms).
What was the most difficult thing for you to learn?
Exporting data about a group of patients to a spreadsheet – though really not that complicated once Bob showed me how.
Do you have any specific suggestions for how it can be made easier to use?
Overall very user-friendly. I've been doing basic searches and also made some cohorts, and it was all fairly intuitive.
Do you have any specific suggestions for new functions we should add?
In going through the EMR, there was often important clinical data contained in the "text" section of the charts (usually under physical exam and assessment/plan). It would be helpful if there was a way to search that text or to parse it out into discreet variables. Right now you really have to go through the charts one-by-one, to make sure you aren't missing valuable info in the text sections.