Purpose: Librarians partnered with the Chief Resident and coordinators of the Internal Medicine residency program to assess how a formalized approach of introducing mobile access to clinical knowledge at the point of care enhanced medical practice. This three-year long study demonstrated that over time residents were able to adapt handheld computing with support on how the technology could facilitate successful completion of their work role-related tasks.
Methods: Three cohorts of internal medicine residents were issued iPads at the beginning of their second year and trained in accessing institutional resources from the digital library. Pre- and post-intervention surveys were respectively administered at the beginning of the second year and end of the third year of training. Institutional technical and resource support were made available for each cohort. Pre- and post-intervention responses were compared using two sample methods and summarized through descriptive statistics.
Results: 68 residents (38% women, mean age = 35.1, SD = 5.1 years) completed the pre-intervention survey questionnaires and 45 completed the post-intervention surveys. There were significant improvements in the residents’ level of computer experience, familiarity with medical information Apps, and appreciation for the electronic medical record. Additionally, residents preferred a highly capable computer system for clinical purposes and positively perceived the potential effects of computers and electronic medical record on medicine.
Conclusion: Study findings suggested that institutions played a critical role in providing technology training to their resident physicians, especially in mobile access to clinical information at the point of care. The residents showed appreciation of iPads and library support that facilitated successful completion of their work role-related tasks. Replicating this study with a larger sample size derived from multiple sites is suggested for future studies that should also include mid-level healthcare professionals such as Physician Assistants and Advanced Nurse Practitioners.