Investigation of the Usability of Computerized Critical Care Information Systems in Germany

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Introduction:The term “usability” describes how effectively, efficiently, and with what level of user satisfaction an information system can be used to accomplish specific goals. Computerized critical care information systems (CCISs) with high usability increase quality of care and staff satisfaction, while reducing medication errors. Conversely, systems lacking usability can interrupt clinical workflow, facilitate errors, and increase charting time. The aim of this study was to investigate and compare usability across CCIS currently used in Germany.Methods:In this study, German intensive care unit (ICU) nurses and physicians completed a specialized, previously validated, web-based questionnaire. The questionnaire assessed CCIS usability based on three rating models: an overall rating of the systems, a model rating technical usability, and a model rating task-specific usability.Results:We analyzed results from 535 survey participants and compared eight different CCIS commonly used in Germany. Our results showed that usability strongly differs across the compared systems. The system ICUData had the best overall rating and technical usability, followed by the platforms ICM and MetaVision. The same three systems performed best in the rating of task-specific usability without significant differences between each other. Across all systems, overall ratings were more dependent on ease-of-use aspects than on aspects of utility/functionality, and the general scope of the functions offered was rated better than how well the functions are realized.Discussion:Our results suggest that manufacturers should shift some of their effort away from the development of new features and focus more on improving the ease-of-use and quality of existing features.

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