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Ambul Pediatr. 2008 Nov-Dec;8(6):375-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ambp.2008.07.002. Epub 2008 Oct 2.

Feasibility of using a tablet computer survey for parental assessment of resident communication skills.

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  • 1MGH Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Boston, MA 02114, USA. jco@partners.org



The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education recommends using patient surveys for assessing resident competency in interpersonal and communication skills. Despite the existence of several validated patient surveys for communication assessment, no system has been developed for their sustained use in resident assessment.


We developed and pilot tested a system to collect surveys from parents of hospitalized children on the day of discharge. We used a 28-item, tablet computer-based survey that measures individual provider and team communication. The computer displays resident photographs to ensure accurate identification and offers the survey in multiple languages. We assessed parental acceptance of the system by analyzing response rate, as well as reasons for response and nonresponse.


Of the 98 eligible parents that were approached, 62 (63%) completed the survey. Only 2 (2%) of the eligible families refused to participate, and only 5 (5%) refused participation because of the survey not being available in a language they were familiar with.


Use of a tablet computer parent survey for resident assessment is feasible, with response rates comparable to those of mailed surveys. The low rate of parental refusal indicates our system could be used to attain sufficient numbers of survey responses to help validly measure resident communication skills.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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