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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Patient Impression and Satisfaction of a Self-administered, Automated Medical History Taking Device in the Emergency Department


Introduction: We evaluated patient impressions and satisfaction of an innovative self-administered, hand-held touch-screen tablet to gather detailed medical information from emergency department (ED) patients in the waiting room prior to physician contact.

Methods: Adult, medically stable patients presenting to the ED at Los Angeles County Hospital used the PatientTouche system to answer a series of questions about their current history of present illness and past medical/surgical histories in English or Spanish. Patients then completed a survey rating their experience.

Results: Among 173 participants, opinion of PatientTouche was strongly positive; 93.6% (95%CI 90.0–97.3%) felt the physical product was easy to hold and handle, and 97.1% (94.6–99.6%) felt the questions were detailed enough for them to fully describe their condition; 97.8% (95.4–100.0%) felt using PatientTouche would help them organize their thoughts and communicate better with their physician, 94.8% (91.4–98.1%) thought it would improve the quality of their care, and 97.1% (94.6– 99.6%) expressed desire to use the product again in the future.

Conclusion: The study was conducted at a largely Hispanic county ED, and only patients with 1 of 6 pre-determined chief complaints participated. We did not include a control group to assess if perceived improvements in communication translated to measurable differences. In this pilot study, patients were highly satisfied with all aspects of the PatientTouche self-administered, hand-held, touch-screen tablet. Importantly, subjects felt it would help them better communicate with their doctor, would improve their overall quality of care and overwhelmingly expressed a desire to use it in the future. [West J Emerg Med. 2014;15(1):35–40.]

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