I was recently invited to sit in on a meeting of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) ED Health Information Technology Safety Task Force. We were talking about medical error related to technology. (In your mind, substitute “technology” > “the @#$@#$ computer”). We were discussing how to make it easy to report errors and near-misses, and who should get these error reports. I opined that it depends on the seriousness, and that there is a continuous spectrum from “kill-the-patient” errors/near-misses to “annoying, slowed me down so I made a mistake,” and that usability contributes to “computer” errors. I will now demonstrate that this is true.

Emergency physicians are frequently interrupted.

Computer systems with high cognitive friction take longer to use.

Therefore, if you take longer to complete tasks on the computer, you are more likely to be interrupted.

Interruptions cause errors. In multiple ways.

Therefore, poorly usable computer systems cause increased medical error.

Quod erat demonstrandum.


This entry was posted by kconover on Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 at 7:50 am and is filed under Uncategorized . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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