Specifying design criteria for electronic medical record interface using cognitive framework.

Pallav Sharda, Amar K. Das, Vimla L. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


As the healthcare industry transitions from paper to electronic medical records (EMRs), medical informatics researchers face the task of ensuring that the electronic presentation of the information remains usable and effective while capitalizing on the ability of EMRs to tailor information to different users. In our research, we focus on utilizing formal cognitive science methodology to guide the conversion of paper-based narrative discharge summaries to a more dynamic, structured electronic version. In this paper, we present the results of a cognitive analytic study (1) that determines a 'core' component in medical narratives and (2) that compares the use of structured and narrative texts by physicians with varying expertise. Specifically, we studied six psychiatrists at three levels of expertise- experts, intermediates, and novices. The subjects were given two clinical case scenarios with discharge summaries and asked to verbalize their thoughts as they read through the summaries. The interview transcripts were analyzed for recalls and inferences generated in the verbalization. Based on experts' verbalizations, the discharge summaries were organized into a more structured form and used in the interview of other subjects. Novice-level subjects had more recall with the structured than with the narrative format. More errors were also made in recall with the narrative than with the structured text. We discuss how these results are valuable in designing an EMR interface to reduce errors and to support users of different expertise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)594-598
Number of pages5
JournalAMIA ... Annual Symposium proceedings / AMIA Symposium. AMIA Symposium
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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