My masters thesis investigates the development of two proposed functionalities for electronic medical record systems, the “Problem-Based Summary” and “Diagnostic Worksheet.” The primary objective in developing these new functionalities was to explore ways in which medical record systems may better complement and extend the mental processes and workflows of the physicians that use them daily. The project investigates the use of the electronic medical record as an external cognitive artifact, exploring new representations of information in an aim to reduce cognitive load and reliance on working memory, increasing efficiency and potentially reducing error. The context of this thesis describes the state of present-day electronic medical record technology, exploring how these systems have impacted doctor workflow and documentation since their widespread implementation, and in what ways they have failed to meet their potential. Reflection on the project details the workflow improvements over extant systems, the implications for future generations of EMR systems, and the role of designers in the development of future medical information technology.
This project was completed in May 2014, and the full thesis document will soon be available to read online.