To describe the use of a computer education station placed within a pediatric emergency department.
Prospective tracking of computer tutorial use.
A tertiary care pediatric emergency department.
A computer with two 30-minute multimedia computer tutorials was installed in the emergency department. The tutorials were designed for residents to use on a voluntary basis but were available to medical students and allied health professionals as well. Software tracked time, date, duration of use, and the user's path through each tutorial. Data were collected from July 15, 1996, through April 30, 1997.
Twenty-eight residents interacted 71 times with the computer during the study. The mean duration of interactions was 22 minutes (SD, 18 minutes; range, 0-75 minutes), but many lasted less than 5 minutes (15 [21%] of 71). Twenty-four (34%) of the interactions led to tutorial completion. Residents were more likely to complete a tutorial during the day shift (22 [40%] of 55) compared with the evening shift (1 [7%] of 14) (P
= .02). A third of the interactions were during evenings and weekends. The education station delivered 26.1 hours of instruction in total. Of 32 first-year pediatric and emergency medicine residents, 22 attempted the tutorials; 4 completed both, and 10 completed one. Allied health professionals were responsible for 28% of the total interactions. They were significantly more likely than medical trainees to have brief interactions, but they were no less likely to complete the tutorials (10 [22%] of 46 vs 31 [27%] of 115; P = .44).
Pediatric residents are willing to use an educational computer placed in the emergency department. Choice of form and content should take into account the likelihood of short interactions and the demonstrated interest of allied health professionals.