Open Access Research

Critical care procedure logging using handheld computers

J Carlos Martinez-Motta1, Robin Walker2, Thomas E Stewart3, John Granton4, Simon Abrahamson5 and Stephen E Lapinsky6*

Author Affiliations

1 Research Co-ordinator, Technology Application Unit, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2 Research assistant, Technology Application Unit, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

3 Director, Critical Care, Mount Sinai Hospital and University Health Network, Toronto and Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

4 Programme Director, Critical Care Medicine, Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care, University of Toronto and University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

5 Education Director, Critical Care Medicine, Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care, University of Toronto and St. Michaels Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

6 Director, Technology Application Unit and Site Director, Intensive Care Unit, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Critical Care 2004, 8:R336-R342  doi:10.1186/cc2921


See related commentary,http://ccforum.com/content/8/5/313

Published: 18 August 2004

Abstract

Introduction

We conducted this study to evaluate the feasibility of implementing an internet-linked handheld computer procedure logging system in a critical care training program.

Methods

Subspecialty trainees in the Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care at the University of Toronto received and were trained in the use of Palm handheld computers loaded with a customized program for logging critical care procedures. The procedures were entered into the handheld device using checkboxes and drop-down lists, and data were uploaded to a central database via the internet. To evaluate the feasibility of this system, we tracked the utilization of this data collection system. Benefits and disadvantages were assessed through surveys.

Results

All 11 trainees successfully uploaded data to the central database, but only six (55%) continued to upload data on a regular basis. The most common reason cited for not using the system pertained to initial technical problems with data uploading. From 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2003, a total of 914 procedures were logged. Significant variability was noted in the number of procedures logged by individual trainees (range 13–242). The database generated by regular users provided potentially useful information to the training program director regarding the scope and location of procedural training among the different rotations and hospitals.

Conclusion

A handheld computer procedure logging system can be effectively used in a critical care training program. However, user acceptance was not uniform, and continued training and support are required to increase user acceptance. Such a procedure database may provide valuable information that may be used to optimize trainees' educational experience and to document clinical training experience for licensing and accreditation.

Keywords:
critical care; handheld computers; internet; procedure logging; training program