Friday, February 29, 2008

Handheld PDA Research Tools in the Emergency Department

MobileDataforce is working on many mobile healthcare related projects these days. One of our customers forwarded the following article to me yesterday. It shows objective data on the value and benefit of using handheld mobile devices for data collection.

Prospective, randomized evaluation of a personal digital assistant-based research tool in the emergency department

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2008, 8:3doi:10.1186/1472-6947-8-3

18 January 2008
Abstract (provisional)

Personal digital assistants (PDA) offer putative advantages over paper for collecting research data. However, there are no data prospectively comparing PDA and paper in the emergency department. The aim of this study was to prospectively compare the performance of PDA and paper enrollment instruments with respect to time required and errors generated.

We randomized consecutive patients enrolled in an ongoing prospective study to having their data recorded either on a PDA or a paper data collection instrument. For each method, we recorded the total time required for enrollment, and the time required for manual transcription (paper) onto a computer database. We compared data error rates by examining missing data, nonsensical data, and errors made during the transcription of paper forms. Statistical comparisons were performed by Kruskal-Wallis and Poisson regression analyses for time and errors, respectively.

We enrolled 68 patients (37 PDA, 31 paper). Two of 31 paper forms were not available for analysis. Total data gathering times, inclusive of transcription, were significantly less for PDA (6:13 min per patient) compared to paper (9:12 min per patient; p<0.001). color="#006600">Conclusions
Using a PDA-based data collection instrument for clinical research reduces the time required for data gathering and significantly improves data integrity.

Marcel P.J.M. Dijkers Ph.D. FACRM
Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine
Mount Sinai School of Medicine