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PDA (personal digital assistant) technology is beginning to emerge as a viable technology for accessing and updating patient records. A handful of studies can be found in the literature on the use of PDAs for accessing patient's records. However, none have actually presented a formal usability study of user interaction with these systems. In this paper we describe a usability study in which we compared two versions (PDA and laptop) of an application to access an electronic patient record system in terms of the efficiency and satisfaction achieved by physicians while conducting typical tasks. The results of the study revealed that physicians are significantly faster on a laptop than on a PDA reading and performing tasks that require text entry. However, they are significantly faster on a PDA than on a laptop performing tasks that only require pointing and clicking. In general they are significantly more satisfied with the actions performed to complete typical tasks on the laptop than on the PDA.
Date of Conference: 24-25 June 2004