To evaluate the usability of mobile information terminals, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs) or Tablet personal computers, to improve access to information resources for nurses and to explore the relationship between PDA or Tablet-supported information resources and outcomes.
The authors evaluated an initiative of the Nursing Secretariat, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, which provided nurses with PDAs and Tablet PCs, to enable Internet access to information resources. Nurses had access to drug and medical reference information, best practice guidelines (BPGs), and to abstracts of recent research studies.
The authors took place over a 12-month period. Diffusion of Innovation theory and the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARIHS) model guided the selection of variables for study. A longitudinal design involving questionnaires was used to evaluate the impact of the mobile technologies on barriers to research utilization, perceived quality of care, and on nurses' job satisfaction. The setting was 29 acute care, long-term care, home care, and correctional organizations in Ontario, Canada. The sample consisted of 488 frontline-nurses.
Nurses most frequently consulted drug and medical reference information, Google, and Nursing PLUS. Overall, nurses were most satisfied with the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) BPGs and rated the RNAO BPGs as the easiest resource to use. Among the PDA and Tablet users, there was a significant improvement in research awareness/values, and in communication of research. There was also, for the PDA users only, a significant improvement over time in perceived quality of care and job satisfaction, but primarily in long-term care settings.
It is feasible to provide nurses with access to evidence-based practice resources via mobile information technologies to reduce the barriers to research utilization.