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Tackling the Incredible Hulk of EHR Complexity with OOUX

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Sophia V P. and upma
Tackling the Incredible Hulk of EHR Complexity with OOUX


The domain of Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) is arguably one of the most complex on the planet. It's renowned for its horrific UX — many doctors and healthcare providers choose to retire early rather than learn to use them. Sophia's dad, a pediatrician, hired an assistant for the sole purpose of translating his paper notes into his practice's EHR system.

EHRs done right have the potential to revolutionize healthcare — if better connections can be made between objects like PATIENT, CONDITION, DIAGNOSIS, DRUG, and TREATMENT PLAN (to name a few). An OOUX'ed EHR could improve care, reduce costs, and surface life-saving insights.

athenahealth has been leveraging OOUX since around 2016 to solve some of their biggest data and UX problems. Last year, we heard from Maria Garcia on the OOUX work happening within athenahealth on the medical billing (Watch her Happy Hour!).

Now, it's time to dig into how OOUX is helping wrangle the incredible complexity of EHRs.

Dani Nordin, Product Design Architect, and Liza Richardson, Clinical Content Senior Manager, will showcase the ways they have used the OOUX process through a handful of high-visibility projects within the Clinicals Electronic Health Record (EHR). Highlights include:

  • 🙋‍♀️ Using an Object Map to spin off new research questions and bring OOUX concepts into research (without participants going cross-eyed).
  • 🎁 Going beyond objects and attributes: how structures, concepts, and containers come into play when dealing with seriously complex and voluminous data architectures.
  • 👩‍💻 Using Airtable and OOUX to create and curate clinical content, research data.

About Dani Nordin
Dani Nordin helps product teams unpack big, gnarly problems 🧶 with design strategy that helps them explore new markets 🧳 and bring together disconnected silos. Right now, she’s the Product Design Architect for athenaClinicals at athenahealth, working on a range of strategic initiatives including specialty support, EHR Configurability, and Clinical Content. She also chairs the HIMSS EHR Association’s User Experience Working Group. She runs her mouth occasionally online and IRL when given the chance - talking about design strategy, research/IA methods, neurodiversity, and whatever aspect of her work she’s hyperfocused on at the moment.

About Liza Richardson
Liza Richardson is a manager on the Clinical Content Informatics Team at athenahealth, creating specialty-focused clinical content for the Clinicals EHR. Spending her first 8 years at athena helping small clients come onto athenaOne through the virtual onboarding team, she transitioned over to the clinical content team in October of 2021 after returning from a sabbatical in Greece and Italy. Since joining the Clinical Content team, she’s been working closely with Dani Nordin on the build and configuration of the Ortho Gold Standard Tablespace - helping the organization define “what good looks like” in terms of content and configuration for a complex set of specialties. She currently lives north of Boston with her husband, 11-month-old son (Bo) and their Olde English Bulldog.

Object-Oriented UX Happy Hour
Object-Oriented UX Happy Hour
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