Background: Delivery of major trauma care is complex and often fast paced. Clear and comprehensive documentation is paramount to support effective communication during complex clinical care episodes, and to allow collection of data for audit, research and continuous improvement. Clinical events are typically recorded on paper-based records that are developed for individual centres or systems. As one of the priorities laid out by the Scottish Trauma Audit Group was to develop an electronic data collection system, the TraumaApp was created as a data collection tool for major trauma that could be adopted worldwide.
Methods: The study was performed as a service evaluation based at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Emergency Department. Fifty staff members were recruited in pairs and listened to five paired major trauma standby and handover recordings. Participants were randomised to input data to the TraumaApp and one into the existing paper proforma. The time taken to input data was measured, along with time for clarifications and any errors made. Those using the app completed a System Usability Score.
Results: No statistically significant difference was demonstrated between times taken for data entry for the digital and paper documentation, apart from the Case 5 Handover (p<0.05). Case 1 showed a significantly higher time for clarifications and number of errors with digital data collection (p=0.01 and p=1.79E-05 respectively). There were no other differences between data for the app and the proforma. The mean System Usability score for this cohort was 75 out of 100, with a standard deviation of 17 (rounded to nearest integer).
Conclusion: Digital real-time recording of clinical events using a tool such as the TraumaApp is comparable to completion of paper proforma. The System Usability Score for the TraumaApp was above the internationally validated standard of acceptable usability. There was no evidence of improvement in use over time or familiarity, most likely due to the brevity of the assessments and the refined user interface. This would benefit from further research, exploring data completeness and a potential mixed methods approach to explore training requirements for use of the TraumaApp.