The Royal College of Psychiatrists is the first to back the Clinical Software Usability Survey, launched by Digital Health and the Chief Clinical Information Officer Leaders Network.

Health IT companies Emis Health and IMS Maxims have also come out in support of the survey, along with healthcare apps organisation HANDI.

The survey is intended to provide a better understanding of how easy a piece of clinical software is to use; according to the doctors, nurses and staff who use it on a regular basis.

The ultimate aim is to create a site similar to travel review site 'TripAdvisor' so that clinicians and NHS managers can see reviews of medical software and discuss professional experiences of different systems. This site is planned for launch in autumn 2016.

Dr Jonathan Richardson, chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists informatics committee, told Digital Health the usability survey is a key component to digitally enable clinicians to provide the best possible care to patients.

“Usability information will allow organisations to make informed decisions when deciding on an EPR that will be fit for purpose: to enable digitally enabled patients, professionals and providers to allow local populations to make informed decisions about their health and care services,” he said.   

Shane Tickell, chief executive of IMS Maxims, welcomed the initiative to help improve usability of EPRs.

“As a system supplier we are committed to learning how to build and deliver ever better systems. Input from clinicians has been part of our company ethos and development over 29 years and I ask our customers to help push the standards and quality of clinical software ever higher.”

Dr Shaun O’Hanlon, chief medical officer at Emis Group said: “At Emis Health we are constantly looking to our users for feedback on how we can improve our systems.  This project seems like the perfect opportunity to benchmark our feedback against other clinical system suppliers, so that we can appreciate where we are strong and where we need to improve.”

HANDI, a not for profit venture that aims to promote openness and collaboration in health IT, is also supporting the survey and has emailed its members encouraging them to complete it.

Digital Health chief executive Jon Hoeksma said it is great to have the Royal College of Psychiatrists as the first of the royal medical colleges to back cSUS. 

“We have begun discussions with other colleges and hope that where RC Psych leads, others will follow,” he said.

The project, which runs to the end of March, is the first time a survey of this kind has been carried out nationally across all areas of the health service. 

It is available at

Read CCIO Network chair Joe McDonald's View of the cSUS in features.