Design, Implementation, and Usability of the Electronic Medical Record Search Engine (EMERSE) Tool
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Design, Implementation, and Usability of the Electronic Medical Record Search Engine (EMERSE) Tool

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IntroductionFree text forms of clinical documentation stored in Electronic Health Record Systems (EHRs)contain a trove of data for researchers and clinicians alike. However, often this data is noteasily accessible for a number of reasons. Many tools have been developed to help users in the task of searching through free text notes in clinical documentation. One such tool is the Electronic MEdical REcord Search Engine (EMERSE), a clinical documentation search tool developed by the University of Michigan. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the usability and user experience of the EMERSE system for a variety of users. Methods The study was conducted in 3 phases. In Phase 1, interviews with site administrators investigated factors that facilitate or hinder the implementation and adoption of a system suchas EMERSE. Phase 2 employed semi-structured interviews to understand the uses, benefits, and limitations of the system from the perspective of experienced “power users”. In Phase 3, system-naive users performed a set of basic workflow tasks, paired with post-activity questions and surveys, to evaluate the intuitiveness and usability of the system. Results Users rated the system exceptionally high on usability, user interface satisfaction, and perceived usefulness. Feedback also indicated that improvements could be made in visual contrast, affordances, and scope of notes indexed. Conclusions These results indicate that tools such as EMERSE should be highly intuitive, attractive, and moderately customizable. This paper discusses some aspects of what may contribute to a system having such characteristics.

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