The recent availability of low-cost tablet computers can facilitate bedside information retrieval by clinicians.
To evaluate the effect of physician tablet use in the emergency department.
Prospective cohort study comparing physician workstation usage with and without a tablet.
55,000 visits/year Level 1 Emergency Department at a tertiary academic teaching hospital.
13 emergency physicians (7 Attendings, 4 EM3s, and 2 EM1s) worked a total of 168 scheduled shifts (130 without and 38 with tablets) during the study period.
Physician use of a tablet computer while delivering direct patient care in the Emergency Department.
Main Outcome Measures
The primary outcome measure was the time spent using the Emergency Department Information System (EDIS) at a computer workstation per shift. The secondary outcome measure was the number of EDIS logins at a computer workstation per shift.
Clinician use of a tablet was associated with a 38-minute (17-59) decrease in time spent per shift using the EDIS at a computer workstation (p<0.001) after adjusting for clinical role, location, and shift length. The number of logins was also associated with a 5-login (2.2-7.9) decrease per shift (p<0.001) after adjusting for other covariates.
Clinical use of a tablet computer was associated with a reduction in the number of times physicians logged into a computer workstation and a reduction in the amount of time they spent there using the EDIS. The presumed benefit is that decreasing time at a computer workstation increases physician availability at the bedside. However, this association will require further investigation.