Electronic health record (EHR) data are increasingly being leveraged for health discoveries as we strive towards a Learning Healthcare System. Meanwhile researchers struggle to learn about existing datasets available to support their research as they look to improve care in primary care settings. Through a series of interdisciplinary design studios, sponsored by the Institute of Translational Health Sciences under DiscovEHR project, we conducted a user-centered design (UCD) process to iterate and improve upon the design of an existing data profiling web-based tool, FindIT (Federated Information Dictionary Tool). FindIT 1.0 is a prototype tool, which profiles data within Data QUEST, an architecture supporting a distributed network of electronic health record data derived from a primary care focused regional practice based research network, the WWAMI region Practice and Research Network (WPRN).
Over the course of more than one year, we defined the problem statement, identified user personas, conducted an extensive needs assessment study, and iterated design prototypes in collaboration with design studio participants.
Our initial wireframe design incorporates users’ perspectives via layers, allowing both novice and return users to easily and quickly navigate to key information. Novice users may need to broadly orient to the network, whereas return users may want to look at specific data profiling content. Our initial design did not account for a clear user experience and users found it difficult to find what they were interested in quickly. The focus on defining a user experience allowed us to create a proposed solution to offer users a cohesive experience that they would find more intuitive and engaging. The layered approach also addressed the need for a single design to accommodate both novice and return users to our tool. The single page layout was designed to appeal to both types of users.
Stephens KA, Lee ES, Estiri H, Jung H. Examining researcher needs and barriers for using electronic health data for translational research. AMIA Summits Transl Sci Proc. 2015;2015:168-172.