For an electronic health record (EHR) to become certified for Meaningful Use, it must pass usability standards that are measured in a formal usability study with the EHR’s target user group. Our target user group for VMV was nurses, so we coordinated with a hospital in coastal Maryland to put together our test and find our users.
As the test proctor, I wanted to have a neutral position on VMV, so I did not have any involvement in the design or development of this software.
To set this formal test up, we needed to pin down a target user group, contact possible participants, schedule the participants, and determine how many tasks to test. I learned much about recruiting & managing varied personalities during this research project.
We selected a hospital in southern Maryland as our testing site. A pool of VMV users in our target group (nurses, age 30-50) was already available for testing. I confirmed 8 participants for a 90 minute test window.
Coordinating with two product developers, I assisted in the creation of eight tasks. The developers selected the content of each task, and I consulted with them about the relevancy in our user test. I helped guide the developers in how to properly design our usability study (what order the tasks should take place in & how much activity is necessary for each task).
Once our test tasks & the order of the test was determined, I created a moderator guide. The moderator guide provided prompts for me to refer back to on test day, so that each test was proctored with the same instructions for each participant.
On test day, I completed 4 separate usability tests, testing 2 participants at a time. I had 2 data loggers assisting me with the collection of qualitative (verbal feedback, body language) as well as quantitative (time on task, number of keystrokes) data. I also used a screen & web cam recording program so that I could review footage later and confirm all collected data was correct.
After the usability test was complete, it was time to compile the big report. Certification also required a formal report with a summary & interpretation of data from our findings. I completed & submitted the report, and VMV was successfully certified. Yay!