Personal Digital Assistant-Based Self-Work Sampling Study of Pediatric Interns Quantifies Workday and Educational Value.

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Journal Title

Acad Pediatr

MeSH Headings

Communication, Computers, Handheld, Ecological Momentary Assessment, Education, Medical, Graduate, Electronic Health Records, Hospitals, Pediatric, Humans, Internship and Residency, Interprofessional Relations, Patient Care Team, Pediatrics, Time Factors


OBJECTIVE: Optimizing clinical proficiency and education of residents has become more important with restricted residency duty hours. Our objective was to investigate how interns spend their time on inpatient rotations and the perceived educational value of workday activities.

METHODS: We performed a descriptive self-work sampling study using a personal digital assistant (PDA) to randomly query interns on inpatient rotations in real time regarding their activity and the perceived educational value of that activity on a 4-point Likert scale.

RESULTS: A total of 31 interns participated on 88 workdays over a 5-month period, generating 2082 samples from which the average workday was modeled. Time spent using the electronic health record (EHR) accounted for 33% of intern time, communicating with the health care team 23%, educational activities 17%, and time with patients and families 12%. Time with patients and families was perceived to be the most educational part of clinical service. Time spent using the EHR was perceived as the least educational. Interns perceived clinical service as excellent or good 37% of the time, while planned educational activities were perceived as excellent or good 81% of the time.

CONCLUSIONS: Interns spend the majority of their time using the EHR and communicating with the health care team. Interns perceive time spent in planned educational activities has more educational value than time spent in clinical service. The distribution of daily activities is discordant with the perceived educational value of those activities.



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