When researchers gave medical residents iPads, the doctors reported that… (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press )
Seriously — they aren’t just using them to watch YouTube!
In a study published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 115 internal medicine residents affiliated with the University of Chicago were given Apple iPads to access patient medical records, the hospital’s paging system and medical publications. A team of investigators at the medical school wanted to see if having access to tablet computers would increase the doctors’ efficiency.
It did. The researchers surveyed their subjects before handing over the tablet computers and four months afterward. Ninety percent of the residents said they were using the tablets for work — most of those, every day. The residents also said that the computers made them more efficient, saving about an hour a day.
The self-reported data were supported by observations of the timing of orders issued for patient care. Five percent more orders were placed before 7 a.m. rounds than before iPads were in the wards. Eight percent more orders were placed prior to the time teams were scheduled to leave the hospital than before the iPads were handed out.
“The implementation of personal mobile computing was associated with improvements in both perceived and actual resident efficiency,” the authors wrote. They suggested that this might be because residents, iPads in hand, didn't have to spend as much time waiting for a computer in the charting area — and were able to devote more time at patients’ bedside.
The authors did not report iPads' effect on the residents’ Angry Birds scores.