Healthcare IT Data Entry Takeaways

I was looking over Rock Health’s writeup of the Health Innovation Summit. A lot of the post is more about what happened as opposed to what was said, but there were some really interesting takeaways that stuck out to me from the Form Reform: Data Entry for Humans session by Jackson Wilkinson. Here’s the section on it:

Jackson Wilkinson, Co-founder of WeSprout, gave attendees practical advice for data entry. Data is an important part of the healthcare equation, but input design is blocking progress. Quick take-aways: Don’t ask for anything you don’t need; whatever you request, return the favor in spades; make it fast, accurate, and simple. And don’t forget: The best form is the one you never have to fill out.

The money phrases:

Input design is blocking progress
Whatever you request, return the favor in spades
The best form is the one you never have to fill out.

While I’m quite sure this presentation had to do more with consumer health IT than EMR and EHR software, I think there’s a lot that could be learned from these comments by EMR companies. Far too many EHR companies believe that they have their users captive and so they can ask whatever they want of their users. Sure, they’d never admit this out loud, but when you look at their EHR software and the design, you realize that they weren’t focusing on the above points very well.

As I think about these points, I’m taken back to a visit to San Francisco where I met with the founders of Elation EMR, Conan and Kyna. I absolutely loved their laser focus on stripping out the unneeded extras in their EMR software. They talked about becoming a certified EHR and handling ePrescribing and how they literally had to work tirelessly to make meaningful use of a certified EHR a seamless experience that didn’t place an undue burden on the provider. I saw this same focus through every part of their approach to EHR software development. I haven’t seen their software in a while so I don’t know how well they’ve followed through on this focus, but I’m interested to see it again to find out.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • You’re exactly right, John. Even though those remarks come from my background on the consumer web, I’ve seen too many examples of EMRs (even the so-called “best”) that create an antagonistic relationship with the user by failing at all of these.

    And that antagonism leads – very directly in my view – to poor data, incomplete records, and medical mistakes.

  • I wrote an interesting article recently where I talked about the benefits of a mobile workstation improving the documentation quality versus other mobile devices. I think that’s true and was surprised by the realization. I think that fits in well with your idea of an antagonistic relationship.

  • i have been using elationEMR for nearly 7 months and can say it is the best EMR by far I have ever used. (EPIC, practice partner, meridian are prior systems I have used)
    It took our staff 5 minutes to figure out!!! Enough said. I feel that this company is not getting the recognition it needs

  • Naveen,
    I haven’t seen them in a couple years, but I was impressed when I first saw and wrote about them a few years back. Glad to hear that they’re still around and doing good work.

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