5 Ways to Improve EHRs for Pediatric Providers

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released "A Human Factors Guide to Enhance EHR Usability of Critical User Interactions when Supporting Pediatric Patient Care" to address the lag of electronic health record adoption by pediatric care providers.

NIST developed the guide because pediatric patients have unique characteristics that translate to higher complexity for providing care with paper-based charts and EHRs. According to the report, the unique characteristics of pediatric patients may be a factor in the low adoption of EHRs by pediatric providers. For this reason, the report details recommendations to enhance EHR usability when supporting pediatric patient care.

The report gives detailed recommendations for critical user interactions with EHRs for pediatric patients, but there are a few recommendations that apply across multiple categories to enhance usability. According to the report, EHRs for pediatric providers should allow or involve the following:

1. Avoid truncation of displayed information, including medication names, units for displayed data and names of vaccinations.
2. Support notations on data, such as "fussy," "six-week preemie," or "needs booster shot at next visit" would be helpful for physicians.
3. Support local display options for age and weight since they do not have the same meaning, units or ranges for pediatric patients as for adult populations.
4. Support the use of customized forms, charts, graphs and reports so that physicians can graph and analyze quantitative data where interpretation is based on dynamic factors.
5. Support optimizing alerts, which are particularly important in pediatrics given the complexity of care, particularly for vaccination scheduling and medication ordering.

To view the report, click here.

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