Date of Award

12-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Industrial Engineering

Advisor

Greenstein, Joel S

Committee Member

Cho, Rae

Committee Member

Neyens, David M

Abstract

Physical artifacts such as whiteboards have been successfully used in healthcare facilities to keep track of dynamic changes in information and to manage work schedules. Since these whiteboards are easy- to- use and do not require any technical expertise, they have been easy- to-adopt. Additionally, they act as memory aids for the users by capturing transient information. However, they have their own limitations, the primary ones being the lack of mobility and real-time updates, both of which are crucial in a high consequence environment such as a healthcare facility. These whiteboards are usually kept in a central location with the users walking to them to obtain and record the necessary information. This additional walking potentially impacts overall efficiency. In addition, since the whiteboards are not electronic, the information present on them cannot be updated in real-time, perhaps making the communication and collaboration more difficult. This research studied these challenges faced by certified and registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) of a large regional hospital in the southeastern United States, specifically those faced with managing breaks and lunches, by designing a new web app for desktop PC and smartphone use as a potential replacement for the whiteboards. Fourteen CRNAs participated in this study evaluating the web app in comparison to the existing whiteboards in a simulated work environment using 8 tasks. The dependent measures of task performance (time and errors), needs satisfaction ratings, system usability (SUS questionnaire) and perceived workload (NASA-TLX) were collected and analyzed. Once the two tool types were evaluated, the participants ranked them using a preference questionnaire. While the errors made did not differ significantly between the two tools, the time taken for overall task execution was longer for the whiteboards. The needs satisfaction ratings and the overall system usability were ranked significantly higher for the web app. The workload indices of mental demand, physical demand, temporal demand, effort and frustration had significantly lower ratings for the web app and the rating on the performance index was significantly higher. All 14 participants preferred the web app over the whiteboards. Future research could involve a real-world study and the use of a web app applied to other departments of the hospital to improve their efficiency. The intent for using this technology would be not only for improving efficiency but also enhancing communication and collaboration.

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