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NHSx EPR usability survey: The value of feedback

Have Your Say text on sticky notes with office desk.

We are thrilled with the news that a national NHSx EPR usability survey has been launched to gather feedback on clinicians’, administrators’ and healthcare professionals’ experiences of using electronic patient record (EPR) systems.

The NHSx EPR usability survey is designed to collect the experiences of NHS staff across England, and will focus initially on those working across mental health, community and ambulance settings.

We wholeheartedly support this survey and the value it has in helping us and other suppliers to improve, but it also has the potential to help move the industry forward as a whole. This is an opportunity for us all to get a snapshot of progress across different areas of healthcare, share good practice and inform future developments.

We strongly encourage all of our customers – and anyone else that uses an EPR system in a community, mental health or ambulance setting – to take 8 minutes to complete the NHSx EPR usability survey.

Why is feedback important?

We recognise the pressure that services are under at the moment, and understand that taking time out to complete a survey could be difficult to justify. We wanted to provide some examples of how useful this type of survey can be to suppliers and the direct impact it can have on products and services.

Lessons from the Clinical System Usability Survey (cSUS)

In 2015, Digital Health Intelligence and the CCIO Network launched the first ever clinical system usability survey (CSUS). This survey received responses for over 100 clinical systems used across primary, secondary, community, and mental health services. We encouraged our users to take part in CSUS, and we were so grateful that we did. Over 200 of our customers took the time to detail things that we did well, and areas where we could improve. 

We were really pleased that our system was rated so highly by our users, but it was the quality of the feedback that really allowed us to make a difference. We are always looking for opportunities to improve, so we reviewed every single response to this survey, and it has directly impacted our priorities since. 

We noticed, for example, that some of the suggestions for improvements for our iaptus EPR was functionality that already existed – so we reached out to staff in services that wanted a refresher course on some of the less frequently used parts of the system, and also improved our training programme generally. 

The CSUS survey responses also highlighted to us that users had some valuable insight into improvements we could make to one area of our system in particular – so as a result of feedback from CSUS and directly from our users – we made significant investments in the development of our diary and appointment booking functionality.  

We have always run our own internal user surveys, but CSUS once again highlighted the value of this feedback, so not long after the results of CSUS were made available, we looked into how we could get more regular feedback from customers. 

Welcome to iaptus innovations

In 2016 we launched iaptus innovations – a mechanism for our users to submit suggestions for improvements, vote on other people’s ideas, and give us more continuous feedback. In late 2018 we decided that we wanted to encourage even more engagement from customers, and alongside our 2019 IAPT Connect user conference, we then enhanced iaptus innovations to incorporate a more collaborative way of sharing updates, and gathering feedback throughout feature development. Fast forward to today, and iaptus innovations now receives over 20 suggestions a month and feeds directly into our development roadmap. 

Feedback during a pandemic

During the Coronavirus pandemic, this connection with customers has been invaluable in meeting critical demands of services. During this time we have launched many user suggested features including integrated video, group webforms, webforms via SMS and direct online appointment bookings for patients – an idea submitted (and voted for) via our innovations platform. This feature has now been adopted by 26 services, and is significantly reducing admin time, streamlining workflows and helping patients across the country to access services. We are so grateful for the relationship that we have with our customers, for the ongoing suggestions and feedback, for those that get involved with testing new features, that contribute to our user groups and events, complete surveys – thank you for being so involved. 

Usability is such a fundamental part of software design, and surveys like this are vital, but the real value is in the action that is taken afterwards. 

We hope that our examples above give people the reassurance that spending a few minutes to complete a survey such as this can go a long way – not just in helping NHSx, but also in helping suppliers improve their software and processes, to better support you.

You can take the NHSx EPR usability survey here.

We will eagerly await the results, and look forward to sharing them with you.

You can follow the conversation about the NHSx EPR usability survey on Twitter #MyEPR

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