Performance Improvement 2007. Can Accessing MEDLINE Via Handheld Computers Be Useful in Answering Clinical Questions for Physicians?



This study assessed the role of MEDLINE when accessed via wireless handheld computers in real clinical scenarios. MEDLINE is a database of over 15 million references to articles published in more than 5,000 current biomedical journals from the United States and over 80 foreign countries. It is an indexing service for research in medicine and related fields. "MD on Tap" is a software application enabling individuals, using personal digital assistants or smartphones to search and retrieve MEDLINE citations in real time directly through a wireless connection to the Internet. MEDLINE and MD on Tap are sponsored by the National Library of Medicine. For this study medical residents accompanied teams on teaching rounds in intensive care units and general medical wards of teaching hospitals, recording clinical questions in real clinical scenarios and searching MEDLINE for answers. The study found MEDLINE to be useful in answering clinical questions and found that MD on Tap was an effective interface to MEDLINE in clinical settings. The system was easy to use and allowed clinicians to quickly find relevant citations. The study analyzed the search and retrieval results from 363 clinical questions asked by members of clinical teams during 77 daily rounds. Answers to 246 (68%) questions were found in MEDLINE by five physicians during rounds using the handheld devices. Strategies that significantly (at the p<.05 statistical confidence level) facilitated timely retrieval of results included using spell check, and using three to four search terms. Possible improvements identified by the study included expanded automatic topical and evidence-level clustering and providing patient outcome information along with the titles of the retrieved articles.

Report Title: Evaluating MD on Tap and MEDLINE via Handheld Computers as a Resource for Mobile Clinicians.
Agency Sponsor: NIH, National Institutes of Health
Federal Contact: Hauser, Susan, 301-435-3209
Performer: University Clinical, Education and Research Associates; Honolulu, HI
PIC ID: 8393

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"PerformanceImprovement2007.pdf" (pdf, 717.63Kb)

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