Pilot Study of iPad Incorporation Into Graduate Medical Education

J Grad Med Educ. 2013 Mar;5(1):142-4. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-12-00007.1.


Background: Increased documentation and charting requirements are challenging for residents, given duty hour limits. Use of mobile electronic devices may help residents complete these tasks efficiently.

Objective: To collect initial data on usage rates, information technology (IT) support requirements, and resident use of iPads during training.

Methods: In this pilot study, we provided 12 residents/fellows from various specialties at the University of Virginia with an iPad with IT support. The system used a virtual private network with access to the institution's electronic health record. Participants were allowed to develop their own methods and systems for personalized iPad use, and after 9 months they provided data on the utility of the iPad. Feedback from the IT team also was obtained.

Results: Average iPad use was 2.1 h/d (range, 0.5-6 h/d). The average self-reported reduction in administrative work due to the iPad was 2.7 h/wk (range, 0-9 h/wk). A total of 75% (9 of 12) of the users would recommend universal adoption among residents and fellows. More than 90% (11 of 12) of users reported the iPad would improve communication for coordination of care. A total of 68% (8 of 12) of users reported that an iPad facilitated their activities as educators of medical students and junior residents. Residents cited slow data entry into the electronic health record and hospital areas lacking Wi-Fi connectivity as potential drawbacks to iPad use. The IT team reported minimal support time for device setup, maintenance, and upgrades, and limited security risks.

Conclusions: The iPad may contribute to increased clinical efficiency, reduced hours spent on administrative tasks, and enhanced educational opportunities for residents, with minimal IT support.