Comparative usability evaluation of computerized physician order entry systems

Healthcare Human Factors


Healthcare Human Factors engaged with Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) to conduct a comparative usability evaluation of systemic therapy computerized physician order entry (ST CPOE) systems in 2008. The purpose of the evaluation was to help CCO decide which ST CPOE system should be endorsed for Ontario cancer care providers. HHF compared two ST CPOE systems in terms of their ease of use and risks to patient safety.

Twenty-nine oncology clinicians from across Ontario participated in usability testing. Two types of quantitative data were collected during the evaluation:

1) performance metrics which focused on how successful participants were at completing the scenarios with each system;
2) user perception metrics which focused on what the participants thought of each system based on their test session.

In addition, specific usability issues with each of the CPOE systems were identified and categorized according to their impact on patient safety and likelihood of occurrences.


One of the CPOE systems performed significantly better than the other in terms of both performance and user perceptions metrics. The usability issues identified with this system were also fewer in number, less severe, and more likely to be easily resolved. As a result, this ST CPOE system was recommended by Healthcare Human Factors in terms of ease of use, patient safety, user satisfaction and adoption for physicians, pharmacists, and nurses in Ontario.