Blog | Thursday, May 16, 2013

QD: News Every Day--iPads susceptible to hype in medical education

Taper hopes of using iPads in medical education, said one study.

Residents generally love using their tablet technologies, but high initial expectations sometimes resulted in residents reverting to traditional ways of doing things when faced with a technologically difficult or time-consuming task.

In October 2010, 115 internal medicine residents received Apple iPads as a personal gift from Steve Jobs. Residents completed surveys on anticipated usage and perceptions 1 month before and 4 months after receiving them.

Results of the study, which was conducted by numerous ACP members and fellows at the Internal Medicine Residency of the University of Chicago, appeared in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

All but one of the 115 of residents responded. Before getting them, most residents believed that the iPad would improve patient care and efficiency on the wards. However, fewer residents "strongly agreed" after deployment (34% vs 15% for patient care, P less than .001; 41% vs 24% for efficiency, P=.005).

Residents with higher expectations were more likely to report using the iPad for placing orders post call and during admission (71% vs 44% post call, P=.01, and 16% vs 0% admission, P=.04). One of the strongest predictors of using the iPad was already owning an Apple product.

In all, 84% of residents thought the iPad was a good investment for the residency program, and 58% reported that patients commented on the iPad in a positive way.

Researchers noted that simple tasks such as reviewing labs, paging and answering clinical questions are inherently easier to learn than entering orders post call and placing admission orders through the iPad.

"Because these tasks are inherently more complex, it may be that residents who showed more excitement were more willing to expend the effort necessary to use their iPads in situations that required more time investment and effort," researchers wrote. "On the other hand, residents who did not report hype may have been more likely to revert to traditional methods when faced with technically complex tasks."