*Dr. Faisal Ibrahim Almohaileb


Background: Among health care providers, especially physicians, the use of Handheld Devices (HHD) including smartphones and tablets has evolved since the handheld devices technology keeps improving. There are specific applications that were designed for medical staff to provide updated information to help them enhance their knowledge and skills. Doctors can hold textbooks, medical calculators, and drug references to look up indications for a recently approved medication, and review clinical guidelines. The rapid retrieval of updated evidence-based medical information through the use of electronic devices including handheld devices is becoming necessary for fast, efficient and safe medical practice. Currently, no literature was found to determine the handheld devices effects on family medicine residents on Riyadh. Objectives: The study's aim is to identify the prevalence of handheld devices ownership and to determine the different practices and utilizations of handheld devices among family medicine residents in Riyadh Family Medicine residency program. Methods: This is a cross-sectional, an online based questionnaire, which was developed and distributed to all family medicine residents in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Participants were asked whether they have handheld devices and if they used any medical related application on their handheld devices to enhance their clinical and learning needs. The frequency of their usage and type of application used were also investigated. Results: 124 residents responded, equating to a response rate of 60%. All respondents owned smartphones 100%, and 69% (n=89/124) of them owned tablets, iOS being most prevalent among both devices (62% and 50% respectively) compared to Android (38% and 16% respectively). Almost all residents 96% (n=119/124) had medical applications installed on their handheld devices, 40% (n=50/124) of them had a 2-5 application installed. Approximately 38% (n=47/124) of respondents were using their devices for learning needs several time a day. The duration spent on the handheld device for medical or clinical purposes mostly 52 % (n=65/124) were 10-30 minutes‟ daily. 59% (n=73/124) of the respondents find handheld device very useful. Residents were asked about the impact of the HHD, 40% (n=49/124) agreed to be a vital part of their learning, 59% (n=73/124) considering it a useful aid, in contrast, 2% (n=2/124) find it not helpful. When respondents were asked about their attitude regarding the use of HHD in the clinic or wards 15% (n=19/124) strongly disagree, 25 % (n=31/124) disagree that they will spend less time with patients. On the other hand, 12% (n=15/124) strongly agreed if used HHD in the clinic or wards the will spend less time with patients. Conclusion: Handheld devices are adopted by almost all residents who perceive them as a very useful tool in their clinical practices and learning needs. These technologies are becoming more popular among all healthcare providers, by providing point-of-care tools.

Keywords: Handheld device, Smartphone, Mobile Technology, Family residents, Questionnaire.

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