With the move towards electronic clinical documentation, it is no longer easy or possible to bring a paper chart to the patient bedside. When University Health Network (UHN) was planning for the purchase of mobile carts to bring pointo-of-care devices closer to the patient, they asked Healthcare Human Factors to evaluate the potential products based on usability, integration into the hospital and ability to meet clinical requirements.
The team conducted head-to-head usability evaluations of three mobile carts under consideration in order to identify ease-of-use and usefulness. The usability labs at the Centre were set up to simulate medication sites and patient rooms where the carts would typically be used. The testing scenarios focused on day-to-day activities and documentation at the point-of-care, such as using the electronic patient record (EPR) and administering and recording medications. The nurse participants were asked to perform the tasks and think out loud during testing in order to understand their frustrations and point of view. The team collected quantitative and qualitative data during the session with respect to ease-of-use, storage capabilities and suitability for the work environment in order to compare the carts being evaluated.
Based on findings of the observations and surveys collected during usability testing, the team recommended a mobile cart that would integrate best into the hospital environment. A set of recommendations was also provided for future cart designs for point of care devices.