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Trauma Surg Acute Care Open. 2017 May 9;2(1):e000085. doi: 10.1136/tsaco-2017-000085. eCollection 2017.

Staying connected: Service-specific orientation can be successfully achieved using a mobile application for onboarding care providers.

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Division of Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care and Emergency Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, USA.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania, USA.


Communicating service-specific practice patterns, guidelines, and provider information to a new team of learners that rotate frequently can be challenging. Leveraging individual and healthcare electronic resources, a mobile device platform was implemented into a newly revised resident onboarding process. We hypothesized that offering an easy-to-use mobile application would improve communication across multiple disciplines as well as improve provider experiences when transitioning to a new rotation. A mobile platform was created and deployed to assist with enhancing communication within a trauma service and its resident onboarding process. The platform had resource materials such as: divisional policies, Clinical Practice Guidelines (CMGs), and onboarding manuals along with allowing for the posting of divisional events, a divisional directory that linked to direct dialing, text or email messaging, as well as on-call schedules. A mixed-methods study, including an anonymous survey, aimed at providing information on team member's impressions and usage of the mobile application was performed. Usage statistics over a 3-month period were analyzed on those providers who completed the survey. After rotation on the trauma service, trainees were asked to complete an anonymous, online survey addressing both the experience with, as well as the utility of, the mobile app. Thirty of the 37 (81%) residents and medical students completed the survey. Twenty-five (83%) trainees stated that this was their first experience rotating on the trauma service and 6 (20%) were from outside of the health system. According to those surveyed, the most useful function of the app were access to the directory (15, 50%), the divisional calendar (4, 13.3%), and the on-call schedules (3, 10%). Overall, the app was felt to be easy to use (27, 90%) and was accessed an average of 7 times per day (1-50, SD 9.67). Over half the survey respondents felt that the mobile app was helpful in completing their everyday tasks (16, 53.3%). Fifteen (50%) of the respondents stated that the app made the transition to the trauma service easier. Twenty-five (83.3%) stated it was valuable knowing about departmental events and announcements, and 17 (56.7%) felt more connected to the division. The evolution of mobile technology is rapidly becoming fundamental in medical education and training. We found that integrating a service-specific mobile application improved the learner's experience when transitioning to a new service and was a valuable onboarding instrument. Level of evidence IV.


mobile phone; resident education; training; trauma/ critical care

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