Benwell, N., Hird, K., Thomas, N., Furness, E., Fear, M., & Sweetman, G. (2017). Effectiveness and efficiency of training in digital healthcare packages: Training doctors to use digital medical record keeping software. Australian Health Review, 41 (5), 479-484.
Objective: Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) is the first hospital in Western Australia to implement a digital medical record (BOSSnet, Core Medical Solutions, Australia). Formal training in the use of the digital medical record is provided to all staff as part of the induction program. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether the current training program facilitates efficient and accurate use of the digital medical record in clinical practice.
Methods: Participants were selected from the cohort of junior doctors employed at FSH in 2015. An e-Learning package of clinically relevant tasks from the digital medical record was created and, along with a questionnaire, completed by participants on two separate occasions. The time taken to complete all tasks and the number of incorrect mouse clicks used to complete each task were recorded and used as measures of efficiency and accuracy respectively.
Results: Most participants used BOSSnet more than 10 times per day in their clinical roles and self-rated their baseline overall computer proficiency level as high. There was a significant increase in the self-rating of proficiency levels in successive tests. In addition, a significant improvement in both efficiency and accuracy for all participants was measured between the two tests. Interestingly, both groups ended up with similar accuracy on the second trial, despite the second group of participants starting with significantly poorer accuracy.
Conclusions: Overall, the greatest improvements in task performance followed daily ward-based experience using BOSSnet rather than formalised training. The greatest benefits of training were noted when training was delivered in close proximity to the onset of employment.
What is known about the topic? Formalised training in the use of information and communications technology (ICT) is widespread in the health service. However, there is limited evidence to support the modes of learning typically used. Formalised training is often costly and there is little other than anecdotal evidence that currently supports its efficacy in the workplace.
What does the paper add? Assessment of accuracy when using the BOSSnet system over time revealed that daily use rather than formalised training appeared to have the most impact on performance. Formalised training was rated poorly, and this appeared to correlate with time between training and use. The present study suggests that formalised training, if required, should be delivered close in time to actual use of the system to benefit end-users. The study also shows that daily experience is more effective than formalised training to improve accuracy.
What are the implications for practitioners? Formalised training for ICT needs to be scheduled in close proximity to end-user use of the ICT. Current scheduling may be beneficial for ease of delivery, but unless it is delivered at a suitable time the benefits are minimal. Formalised training programs may not be critical for all staff and all staff improve with contextualised experience given time. Training may be better suited to optional rather than compulsory delivery programs with ongoing delivery to suit user schedules.
education, e-Health, evaluation, health systems, information management, performance.