Tablet PC and digital pen trump PDA for data entry

February 4, 2005

Researchers may be ready to set aside traditional pen and paper for entering data in large clinical trials. Not only do investigators prefer their digital counterparts, but those devices also lead to a reduction in data entry errors.

Researchers may be ready to set aside traditional pen and paper for entering data in large clinical trials. Not only do investigators prefer their digital counterparts, but those devices also lead to a reduction in data entry errors.

At the 2004 RSNA meeting, researchers from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill compared a Tablet PC, digital pen, PDA/digitizer hybrid, and traditional PDA in terms of speed, ease of use, accuracy, and user satisfaction.

Pen and paper entry was used as a control. The standard paper control was the fastest method of data entry, at an average time of 155.2 seconds per case. The stand-alone PDA had the slowest result, at an average of 276.6 seconds for complete entry.

The researchers found no statistically significant difference between data entry times for the digital pen, pen and paper, and the Tablet PC.