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“The Excellence of the Status Quo is a Sentimental Illusion”—Donald Berwick, MD

I am leading a group of independent physicians who are trying to dramatically improve the antiquated processes still being used to electronically report, view and share the cumulative results of the more than 7,500 currently available diagnostic patient tests.

The longstanding basic problem is a flawed user interface design that uses infinitely variable reporting formats to display test results to physicians and patients as incomplete, fragmented data, instead of the easy to read, comprehensive, integrated and actionable information that they really need to use the results efficiently.

The practical and logical solution is to use human-centered, standard reporting format design principles to transform the status quo of an electronic sea of disorganized data into integrated, usable information. You can see a detailed description and illustration of the major potential benefits of implementing a standardized test results reporting format, i.e. improving physician workflow and patient engagement and safety and collaborating to eliminate unnecessary testing here: .

Since the passage of the federal ARRA/HITECH law in 2009, it has become clear that in the emerging era of participatory medicine (2) and provider-based financial risk (3), the creation and introduction of a clinically intuitive, standard reporting format will ultimately require the widespread recognition of this specific IT problem and the active and widespread support for its solution from both engaged patients and physicians in training and in practice.

I would be very much interested in feedback from Medstro members, in training or already in practice, on two issues related to the inefficient status quo of electronic test results reporting by EHR, PHR and HIE platforms:

1) Are you satisfied with or frustrated by the presentation of cumulative test results as incomplete, fragmented data?

2) Are you interested in learning more about this important user interface design problem that is a major barrier to the fully interoperable viewing and exchange of this vital and voluminous clinical information and the efforts underway to develop and introduce a practical solution?

Bob Coli, MD
Plainfield, NH

(3) (just click ‘OK’ for the PDF file)