We previously developed a prototype computer-based simulation to teach residents how to integrate better EMR use in the patient-physician interaction. To evaluate the prototype, we conducted usability tests with three non-clinician students, followed by a pilot study with 16 family medicine residents. The pilot study included pre- and post-test surveys of competencies and attitudes related to using the EMR in the consultation and the acceptability of the simulation, as well as ‘think aloud’ observations. After using the simulation prototypes, the mean scores for competencies and attitudes improved from 14.88/20 to 15.63/20 and from 22.25/30 to 23.13/30, respectively; however, only the difference for competencies was significant (paired t-test; t=-2.535, p=0.023). Mean scores for perceived usefulness and ease of use of the simulation were good (3.81 and 4.10 on a 5-point scale, respectively). Issues identified in usability testing include confusing interaction with some features, preferences for a more interactive representation of the EMR, and more options for shared decision making. In conclusion, computer-based simulation may be an effective and acceptable tool for teaching residents how to better use EMRs in clinical encounters.
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