How to Make Health IT User Friendly

There are numerous health IT technologies that can be implemented to improve workflow, efficiency and productivity, but all too often these systems prove to be more of a hindrance than a help. The goal may be to cut down on wasted time, but in reality, little time is saved because users do not like the systems that are installed.

In order to gain the benefits of a new health IT system, the staff must learn to love the system. For that to happen, health IT systems must be aligned with employees’ workflows. Many healthcare IT departments struggle because they try to get employees’ workflows to match the IT systems and that is always going to meet with resistance.

Fortunately there are a number of ways that healthcare IT departments can make health IT user friendly, as detailed in the four simple steps below:

How to Make Health IT User Friendly

Healthcare professionals are busy people, and consequently they have no time – and no desire – to learn how to use complicated IT systems. They may offer a myriad of benefits, but if physicians and nurses do not have the time to learn how to get those benefits, the system will ultimately fail. Systems must be quick and easy to use, and should be developed around policies and procedures that are already in place. This is the best way to ensure staff adopt a new system, and do so quickly.

The System Should be Virtually Invisible

In an ideal world, health IT systems should be invisible. They are only there to help interactions take place. If health IT throws many obstacles in the way, no one is going to feel they are getting any benefits. The system should also document what is being done so the staff does not need to. Physicians are already burdened with excessive administration; the last thing they need is to be given more. The more invisible a system is in a process, the better it will work in practice and the more the staff will like using it.

IT Systems Must be Mobile

The nature of the job means physicians are not tied to one location; so neither should health IT systems: They must be mobile. Physicians should not be required to use systems in one physical location. A nurse or physician may be required to move around a facility constantly during the day, and at any one time, it is unlikely that they can easily be found. Systems therefore should be similarly mobile and incorporate strong tracking and communication features.

Systems Must be Physician-Friendly

The unfortunate fact for many health IT professionals is adoption of a technology will not happen if it doesn’t integrate properly into workflows. While it would be nice to think that technology controls physicians, it is the other way round. Make health IT user friendly and the technology will be adopted. Physicians don’t want to change their workflow, and they do not need to.

Systems must just be designed from the point of care out. IT departments should recognize the demands that are placed on physicians, and should develop systems to meet physicians’ needs. If health IT is not seen as being a solution to the problems faced by physicians, it will be viewed as a hindrance. There is no middle ground.

Author: Richard Anderson

Richard Anderson is the Editor-in-Chief of