Use of personal digital assistants to enhance educational evaluation in a primary care clerkship

Med Teach. 2002 Sep;24(5):488-90. doi: 10.1080/0142159021000012513.


Experiences of students using optically scanned cards were compared with those of students using personal digital assistants (PDAs) to log patient encounters in a primary care clerkship. From April to September 2001, students were offered the option of using a PDA in lieu of scanned cards to track clinical encounters. Data obtained from PDA users were compared with those previously obtained from scanned card users. Verbal and written feedback was obtained from all students. Of the 71 students invited to participate, 21 (30%) owned a PDA, and of these, 20 agreed to participate. Eighteen students completed the pilot. One student was unable to participate owing to software installation problems; another student lost data because of improper back-up. Students using the PDAs recorded more encounters per rotation and had fewer missing data when compared with students who used scanned card. Additionally, feedback from students suggested that PDAs offered other important educational benefits.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clinical Clerkship / standards*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Computers, Handheld / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Family Practice / education*
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Office Visits / statistics & numerical data
  • Pilot Projects
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States