iPad gets low marks from residents in hospital study

A study at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio found that residents did not attribute high value to the Apple iPad as a clinical rounding or educational tool, according to a study in the Journal of Mobile Technology in Medicine.

"Our study supports decreased utility of the iPad, particularly among non-medicine-based residents," states the article. "We found that residents across all disciplines did not perceive the iPad to be clinically useful on daily work rounds, and had only slightly increased value as an educational tool."

The hospital initiated a resident-wide iPad program in the 2011-2012 academic year. All 119 residents used a 16 GB iPad 2 with Wi-Fi at a cost of $499 each, of which 102 (86 percent) residents participated in the study. The aim of the study was to evaluate residents' perceptions of the iPad's clinical and educational utility, and examine differences of perceived value between medicine-based and surgical-based residents. Opinions on clinical utility and educational value were assessed via an electronic survey completed at the end of the academic year.

"Across all residency programs, the iPad received low marks for daily clinical utility (14.7 percent) and efficiency in documentation (7.8 percent)," study authors wrote. "It was most valued for sourcing articles outside the hospital (57.8 percent), and as a research tool (52 percent)."

In addition, the study revealed significant differences between medical and surgical residents' perceived value of the iPad's utility. In particular, medicine-based residents were much more likely to report that the iPad was a valuable educational tool when utilized on rounds than their surgical counterparts.

"Medical and surgical residents' opinions differed regarding perceived value for educational utility (41.7 percent vs. 6.7 percent), viewing results and use as an evidence-based medicine resource (38.9 percent vs. 16.7 percent), recommendation to a colleague (58.3 percent vs. 36.7 percent), and facilitation of patient care (45.8 percent vs. 23.3 percent)," the study found.

"Institutions should consider these differences and address connectivity and support issues before implementing iPad programs across all disciplines," concluded the authors. "Additionally, factors such as hardware/ software cost, vendor support, on-going training, in-house support, and connectivity should be considered prior to implementation of a mobile computing program."

Similarly, a recent article in the Journal of Medical Internet Research found that the use of iPads for certain tasks in an internal medicine residency program fell short of initial high expectations, although users reported overall satisfaction with the tools. Residents who reported more "hype" prior to iPad deployment were more likely to use the iPad to enter orders, according to researchers. Moreover, those residents who used Apple products prior to iPad deployment also were likely to report higher usage of the iPad.

To learn more:
- read the study