July 24, 2019

Primary Purpose of the EHR HOME screen

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In a clinical EHR, the first job of the HOME screen is to be bypassed quickly to get the PATIENT FILE open

What should the HOME screen in an EHR look like?

Well. I dunno.

Home screens are complicated. It is difficult to imagine a 'single best home screen' that would apply across the many different types of user and clinical settings that electronic health record tools are deployed.

The same user, working in the same clinic, may even need several different home screens based on time of day or where in their clinical workflow they are.

If an EHR has hundreds of features baked into it, the home screen may need to accommodate many different layouts and purposes than if the EHR tool only has a single function and feature.

Going back to first principles

The previous post discussed the purpose of trying to build the simplest (yet most perfectly optimized) EHR experience possible that would make clinicians eager to put aside their paper-based workflows and switch to digital.

The prior blogpost discussed that the EHRs have two components:  

1. HOME: which was where patient selection occurs, and

2. PATIENT FILE: which is where patient information is displayed or captured

2 screen workflow.jpg
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Using this very simplified purpose of an EHR we learn:

The primary and necessary purpose of the HOME part of the EHR is to move the user as quickly as possible to the next correct PATIENT FILE.

Yes, the HOME section of the app may end up doing a lot more. And the ‘other things’ that the HOME section of the app does are important too.

But at its core, in a clinical EHR, its first job of HOME is to be bypassed quickly to get the PATIENT FILE open.

A well-designed analog (paper-based) clinic, would always make the next patient file immediately available to the clinician when they need it. The EHR must do the same.

The next blogpost will consider some of the ways that the next needed PATIENT FILE can be selected in the home screen.

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