Putting Elation to the Test: Results From Our Usability Study

Since Elation’s inception, we’ve been committed to building an EMR that’s clinical first, designed to meet physicians’ needs at the point of care. In keeping with this philosophy, two of our most important design objectives are intuitiveness and efficiency. Time is arguably the most valued resource for the healthcare provider, and each second saved by making a screen more intuitive or a process more efficient is a second that the provider gets back to spend on his or her patients.


Elation team members Bob Laws and Subu Samarajiva field user feedback during a recent event. Click on the image above to read more feedback from our doctors.

Our users sing our praises on a regular basis, but we wanted to put Elation to the test and find out just how intuitive our EMR is. What would happen if we tested out our core features on a brand-new audience: physicians who had never laid eyes on Elation nor used it in a clinical setting?

A recent usability study required for EHR certification by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) provided the perfect opportunity to do just that. So how did they fare? And how did we stack up against industry leaders? Read on for the results.

Here’s how the study worked:

– We had 5 physician participants perform tasks demonstrating a core set of features in our app, from medication orders to clinical information reconciliation.

– Participants were given only a 3-minute introduction to the patient chart. (For comparison, our standard orientation for prospective users is 60 minutes.) Our goal was to keep participants as fresh and unfamiliar with ElationEMR as possible prior to conducting the study.

– Participants did not receive any assistance from the test administrator during the study; they were on their own to complete the tasks.

The results?

– Out of 45 tasks attempted by participants, there was not a single task failure. These results were both exciting and gratifying as our participants had no prior experience with Elation, yet were able to successfully complete everything asked of them in the test.

– Mean task completion times were short across the board (View our study for detailed results). It’s no surprise that our participants’ subjective feedback was that Elation was efficient for completing each task.

– Participants provided universally positive feedback on our EMR. Comments described Elation as “easy to use” and “intuitive.” One user even told us, “this is a dream to work with compared to [my EMR].”

See the full results of our usability study here.

Since the results of these usability studies are made public, we thought we’d take a look at the results from Practice Fusion, the EMR market’s leading web-based EMR.

(Caveat: The ONC allows for some flexibility in how companies test and measure the usability of product features, so the following is not a pure apples-to-apples comparison. However, our testing methods and instructions for participants were very similar.)

A quick comparison:

– Participants’ success rate was not perfect, despite the fact that all participants had between 1-3 years of experience using Practice Fusion. This is a strong contrast with our flawless results with completely inexperienced participants.

– The task completion times were considerably slower. For example, writing, changing, and accessing a lab order took Practice Fusion participants 2 minutes longer on average than our participants in Elation.

– One of the report’s key conclusions is that software efficiency needs improvement. Compare that to our study in which our participants lauded the efficiency of Elation.

There are certainly improvements we can make as well — the study helped us uncover areas where messages and labels can be more prominent or explicit to help physicians complete tasks even more quickly and without confusion. But our results affirm our efforts to make an efficient, intuitive EMR, showing that even completely inexperienced users can perform core functions flawlessly and with ease.