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ISRN Emergency Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 254530, 6 pages
Research Article

Patient Use of Tablet Computers to Facilitate Emergency Department Pain Assessment and Documentation

1Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Community Medicine, University of Oklahoma, Tulsa, OK 74104, USA
2Emergency Department, Hillcrest Medical Center, Tulsa, OK 74104, USA

Received 17 August 2012; Accepted 19 September 2012

Academic Editors: A. Eisenman and G. Volpicelli

Copyright © 2012 Annette O. Arthur et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. The goal of this project is to pilot automated pain tracker (APT) hardware/software system allowing patients to indicate their pain levels and whether they want analgesia, using tablet computers. Methods. Patients in an academic emergency department (ED) used a tablet computer (iPad, Apple Computer Company, Cupertino, CA, USA), programmed to allow them to indicate their pain level, whether pain medication was desired, and prompted the subject at regular intervals to indicate their pain level. The iPad was linked to a monitor in the ED's nursing/physician station. The pain assessment information was printed for scanning and inclusion in the ED's electronic medical records (EMR) system. A 5-point Likert scale questionnaire was used to assess the perceptions of patients and nurses about the utility of the APT. Results. The majority of 30 subjects (28 of 30; 93%) agreed or strongly agreed that the number of pain assessments was adequate. All of the subjects indicated the APT was easy to use, and 28 of 30 subjects (93%) thought the APT should be used more in the ED. Conclusions. The benefits of the iPad pain-tracking and reporting-system include patient satisfaction, improved pain care, operational efficiency, and improved pain assessment documentation.