Community Health Toolkit

Using humor to raise the bar for good design in digital health

Someone recently forwarded this hilarious EHR rap video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xB_tSFJsjsw

It’s silly, but raises some actual, substantive points about how doctors want to interact with their tech, and more importantly, their patients. One of the points they make–that EHRs are often just glorified tools for the billing department–has been described in more serious publications as a leading reason for physician burnout in the US. This Harvard Business Review article on EHRs and burnout is just one of the pieces I’ve seen that makes this claim.

Another hilarious, but also totally alarming use of humor in digital health is the Epic parody account, which has nearly 20,000 followers on Twitter. Epic is perhaps the most widely used electronic medical records system in the world, and their design work is so bad that they are widely known for suing anyone who posts screenshots of their software. Imagine that.

Part of me appreciates the use of humor to demand better, but humor alone won’t deliver the changes we need. I believe open source software in general, and the CHT in particular, have potential to do so. In the past, designers have too often been cut out of the process, but I think that open source and the kind of co-design practice we’re committed to in the CHT can lower barriers to entry. I also think that great design is part of what has helped our work to spread.

Know any other examples of using humor to raise the bar for design? I’d love to hear about them!

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