Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP 2004 Florida Meeting

Poster Presentation:

Use of Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) patient-log in pediatric clerkship program


 Dr. Deborah Hewes MBBS, MRCP; Teaching Fellow: Dr. Joan Fraser MBChB, FRCPC; Clinical Associate Professor, Director 3rd Year Clerkship Programs

Institution: Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia

 Objective: As part of a project designed to examine the efficacy of PDA-based resources a patient-logging system was used among third-year medical clerks during their eight-week pediatric clerkship. Rotations were assigned to control groups (30 students) who used paper-based logs; or intervention groups (38 students), who used PDA-based logs. The log included an assessment of the level of participation the student had with the patient. This was rated on a 5-point scale ranging from a comprehensive history and physical examination to an observed encounter only.

Results: A total of 1596 patient encounters were recorded over a period of 32 weeks with a significant majority being from the PDA groups. In the control group 87 logs were returned which represented information about 2.9 patients per student. In the PDA-group 1509 logs were returned which represented an average of 40 patient encounters per student. Analysis of the level of participation showed that 34% were comprehensive encounters, 14% a detailed history and physical, 26% a focused history and physical and 20% an observed encounter. The remainder were incomplete or an expanded history and physical.
Data about the types of patients seen by the students was also collected with the majority being respiratory conditions.

 Conclusion: The use of PDA-patient logs far outweighed the paper-logs previously used and allowed documentation on the level of student participation as well as the types of patients seen during the pediatric clerkship.