Howard University, USA
Fatima Barnes has worked as a technology integration specialist for more than ten years. She has also conducted research on the use of iPads and Tablets in clinical care while managing a medical library. In the past three years, the library trained more than 70 clinicians with teaching responsibilities on using or teaching with iPads and Tablets. Dr. Barnes has held preconference workshops on evaluated productivity tools for busy professionals and presented on emerging medical devices in health care. In addition, several abstracts and posters have been published and presented at conferences on the use of medical apps in professional education.
Objectives: Using library subscriptions and accessible on handheld devices, this study sought to promote authoritative health information apps, and evidence-based point-of-care resources.
Methods: Three cohorts of internal medicine residents were issued iPads at the beginning of their second year, and were trained to skilfully access resources from the digital library.
Pre- and post-intervention surveys were respectively administered at the beginning of the second year and end of the third year of training. The residents’ computer experience and computer knowledge was assessed. Additionally, before and after formal introduction to iPads, perceptions on the use of computers to access clinical information were assessed. Survey responses were compared using two sample methods and summarized through descriptive statistics.
Results: Sixty-eight residents completed the pre-survey questionnaires and 45 completed the post-surveys. There were significant improvements in the residents’ level of computer experience, and familiarity with medical apps. Furthermore, there was increased knowledge obtained in accessing clinical information through electronic medical records. Residents positively perceived the potential effects of computers and electronic medical records in medicine.
Conclusion: Study findings suggested that health science libraries can be instrumental in providing search skills to health professionals, especially residents in training. Participants showed appreciation of iPads and library support that facilitated successful completion of their related tasks. Replicating this study with a larger sample derived from multiple sites is recommended for future studies. Participation of mid-level healthcare professionals, such as Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners is suggested.
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