Rosemarie Nelson of the MGMA Consulting Group and Dr. Steve Waldren of the American Academy of Family Physicians' Center for Health IT say that usability goes beyond user satisfaction. They examine five traits of a usable EMR: supportivenes, flexibility, ease of learning, effectiveness and efficiency. If you're shopping for an EMR, it's important to know how doctor and nurses share and use the system in close quarters. "The best way to observe and understand the dance between nurse and provider is by taking a trip to see the EMR in operation at a practice," Nelson said.

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