eHealth Ontario: Improving Access to Clinical Applications

Healthcare Human Factors


eHealth Ontario is the government agency tasked with modernizing Ontario’s health care system to improve patient care, safety and access using information technology. An important part of this task is to provide physicians with online patient information. This includes access to a province-wide, integrated repository of laboratory results (i.e. Ontario Laboratory Information System) and access to patient drug histories (i.e. Ontario Drug Benefit). Together, they provide timely access to information that is needed at the time of clinical decision making while minimizing the likelihood of adverse drug events. To accomplish this, eHealth Ontario decided to use web applications or “portlets” delivered via hospital intranets and the Internet.

Healthcare Human Factors was brought in to evaluate the applications from a usability and accessibility perspective. The team reviewed the designs based on human factors and web content accessibility guidelines. Usability testing with over twenty physicians, nurses, allied health workers, and clinic support staff provided valuable insight into potential real-world issues with the portlets.

Based on the insight gained in the evaluations, the team prioritized usability violations and provided design recommendations that improved workflow, navigation search experience, and feedback.