Clinicians' perceptions of usefulness of the PubMed4Hh mobile device application for clinical decision making at the point of care: a pilot study

BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2018 May 8;18(1):27. doi: 10.1186/s12911-018-0607-9.


Background: Although evidence-based practice in healthcare has been facilitated by Internet access through wireless mobile devices, research on the effectiveness of clinical decision support for clinicians at the point of care is lacking. This study examined how evidence as abstracts and the bottom-line summaries, accessed with PubMed4Hh mobile devices, affected clinicians' decision making at the point of care.

Methods: Three iterative steps were taken to evaluate the usefulness of PubMed4Hh tools at the NIH Clinical Center. First, feasibility testing was conducted using data collected from a librarian. Next, usability testing was carried out by a postdoctoral research fellow shadowing clinicians during rounds for one month in the inpatient setting. Then, a pilot study was conducted from February, 2016 to January, 2017, with clinicians using a mobile version of PubMed4Hh. Invitations were sent via e-mail lists to clinicians (physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners) along with periodic reminders. Participants rated the usefulness of retrieved bottom-line summaries and abstracts and indicated their usefulness on a 7-point Likert scale. They also indicated location of use (office, rounds, etc.).

Results: Of the 166 responses collected in the feasibility phase, more than half of questions (57%, n = 94) were answerable by both the librarian using various resources and by the postdoctoral research fellow using PubMed4Hh. Sixty-six questions were collected during usability testing. More than half of questions (60.6%) were related to information about medication or treatment, while 21% were questions regarding diagnosis, and 12% were specific to disease entities. During the pilot study, participants reviewed 34 abstracts and 40 bottom-line summaries. The abstracts' usefulness mean scores were higher (95% CI [6.12, 6.64) than the scores of the bottom-line summaries (95% CI [5.25, 6.10]). The most frequent reason given was that it confirmed current or tentative diagnostic or treatment plan. The bottom-line summaries were used more in the office (79.3%), and abstracts were used more at point of care (51.9%).

Conclusions: Clinicians reported that retrieving relevant health information from biomedical literature using the PubMed4Hh was useful at the point of care and in the office.

Keywords: Clinical decision making; Mobile application; Point of care; PubMed4Hh.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Decision-Making*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobile Applications / standards*
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Point-of-Care Systems*
  • PubMed / standards*
  • United States