Study: Providing Tablets to Medical Residents Could Improve Care

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Providing medical residents with tablet computers could boost efficiency, reduce delays in patient care and improve continuity of care, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, CMIO reports (Byers, CMIO, 3/12).

Study Details

In November 2010, 115 medical residents at the University of Chicago Medicine were given Apple iPads (HealthDay, 3/12). Residents were able to use the iPads to:

  • Access medical journals;
  • Contact the hospital laboratory or other departments;
  • View patients' electronic health records; and
  • Show patients their X-rays and test results (Pittman, Reuters, 3/12).

In 2011, researchers surveyed the residents about how the devices affected their workflow and patient care.

Study Findings

The study found that:

  • Nearly 90% of residents said they routinely used the iPad for clinical duties;
  • 78% said the iPad helped them feel more efficient; and
  • 68% said the iPad prevented delays in patient care.

Researchers also examined data from the hospital's EHR system to evaluate how the iPad deployment affected residents' completion of orders. Researchers found that after the residents received iPads, they completed:

  • 5% more orders before 7:00 a.m. rounds; and
  • 8% more orders before the end of their 1:00 p.m. shift (HealthDay, 3/12).

Researchers noted that the number of orders for tests and procedures remained the same after the iPad deployment, but slightly more orders were placed within two hours of a patient's hospital admission (Reuters, 3/12).

Lead author Bhakti Patel and colleagues wrote, "The implementation of personal mobile computing via iPads was associated with improvements in both perceived and actual resident efficiency" (CMIO, 3/12).


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