Date of Award

12-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Industrial Engineering

Advisor

Greenstein, Joel S

Committee Member

Pak , Richard

Committee Member

Neyens , David M

Abstract

Traditional artifacts such as whiteboards serve as key tools in helping healthcare professionals keep track of frequently changing information and managing their work schedule. The simplicity of these tools has made them easy to adopt into the work culture and since these artifacts are not usually electronic, they need no external technical support or maintenance. However, these artifacts present unique challenges to their users, the primary one being lack of mobility offered. The whiteboards are usually stationary and the users will have to assemble near them to update or gather information. In a hospital, this adds significant overhead to the workflow efficiency since users will have to spend time walking from their changing locations to the whiteboards. In addition, the fact that these artifacts are not electronic means that they cannot be connected to the information technology (IT) system, meaning the information present on them are not updated in real-time. In this research, such challenges faced by certified and registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) board runners of a large regional hospital in the south eastern United States were studied. To help address the challenges faced by the board runners in their task execution, a new web app designed for the Google Nexus 7 tablet was introduced as a potential replacement for the whiteboard. Ten board runners participated in this study to evaluate the new web app in comparison with the whiteboard in a simulated work environment. The participants were given 10 different tasks to perform with both the web app and the whiteboard. Measures such as task performance (time and errors), situational awareness (SA), needs ratings, system usability and perceived workload were collected and analyzed. Once the web app and the whiteboard were evaluated, a preference ranking for the type of device was also collected from all the participants. Time taken for overall task execution was longer for the whiteboard and the errors committed did not differ significantly among the two devices. SA was found to be similar across the devices and there were no significant differences. All 6 primary needs collected and the overall system usability were rated significantly higher for the web app. The workload indices of mental demand, physical demand, temporal demand, effort and frustration had significantly higher ratings for the whiteboard and the performance was rated significantly higher for the web app. All of the 10 participants preferred the web app over the whiteboard.

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