Can Technology Live Up to the Hype?

Medical residents didn’t exactly experience “buyer’s remorse” but their enthusiasm diminished some between the time that they were told that they would be using a tablet device and four months after they actually started using the technology at the point of care, according to the results of study posted online in the Journal of Medical Internet Research on May 8. 

In October 2010, all 115 internal medicine residents at the University of Chicago Medical Center were given Apple iPads.  The tablets were loaded with various programs and applications including the hospital’s electronic health record, computerized provider order entry and drug database systems.

When residents were informed of the program one month before receiving the tablets, the majority of the doctors reported that they believed the tablet would improve efficiencies and quality of care.  Four months later, most of the residents still held to the contention that the tablet was beneficial but its use didn’t quite live up to the initial hype for many.

For example, before using the device, several residents initially reported “strong” agreement with the potential impact of the iPad on future attendance at conferences (44%), benefits to patient care (34%), and increased efficiency on the wards (41%). However, four months after deployment, significantly fewer residents felt that the iPad benefited attendance at conferences (17%), patient care (15%), and efficiency on the wards (24%).

Authors of the study concluded that the deployment of Apple iPads in a residency program was associated with high expectations, consistent with prior models of technology innovation. To ultimately succeed with such initiatives then requires “careful management of these expectations while promoting champions of use . . . to create an environment of successful adoption for mobile technology in the hospital setting,” according to the study’s authors.