An evaluation of the use of hand-held computers for bedside nursing care

P. M. C. YOUNG, Min Wing Raymond LEUNG, L. M. HO, S. M. MCGHEE

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Both keyboard-based and pen-based devices for data input have advantages and disadvantages. The suitability of the two input devices for entering different types of clinical data into computers remains unclear. This study aimed to determine the usefulness of different types of technology for nurses' data entry by comparing the utility and efficiency of keyboard and pen-based data input for clinical tasks. The study was conducted in the six largest specialities of an acute care hospital. In each speciality, several wards were randomly selected, and all nurses working in these wards were invited to participate. The input prototype was designed according to the type of text that was to be entered into the system. Task 1 mainly consisted of structured data, Task 2 contained equal amount of structured and textual data, and Task 3 was mainly in textual form. Each nurse was asked to complete the three simulations of nursing records (Tasks 1, 2 and 3). Preliminary findings showed that nurses found the pen-based interface easier to use than the keyboard for completing Tasks 1 and 2, but not Task 3. In terms of accuracy, the nurses preferred the keyboard to the pen when the data were more structured. The pen-based device is not a panacea for all kinds of user interface, and more importantly, the choice of input device should depend on the amount of structured and textual data. Copyright © 2001 Elsevier.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-193
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Issue number2/3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2001


Young, M. C. P., Leung, R. M. W., Ho, L. M., & McGhee, S. M. (2001). An evaluation of the use of hand-held computers for bedside nursing care. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 62(2/3), 189-193.


  • Evaluation of hand-held computers
  • Nursing
  • Beside care


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