Applicability of handheld computers in clinical information systems:Comparison of evaluation methods
Although handheld computers are increasingly used in professional areas, an instrument for evaluating their applicability in different cases and scopes does not yet exist. There is an urgent need for standardised evaluation methods comprising handheld specific questions like mobility, different hardware (CE, Palm, Psion), different possibilities for data capture (keyboard versus pen), different displays, or individual combination of functionality, to highlight just a few important tasks. This paper consists of a description of common evaluation methods and their comparison. On this basis we present an extension of established instruments for evaluation, which was tested in clinical environment. Main focus is laid upon the ISO 9241 Part 10 and the principles of organisation described therein: self-descriptiveness, controllability, conformity with user expectations, error tolerance, suitability for individualisation and suitability for learning. These standards are integrated into different questionnaires (e.g., IsoMetrics, Iso- Norm), which are the basis for further development of the adoption to mobile computer evaluation. We give an overview on usability of questionnaires based on ISO 9241 Part 10, together with our extension in the part of the handheld-specific questions. The results permit a first estimation about the applicability and functionality of handheld computers in a clinical environment. We evaluate if such an extension of the ISO-based questionnaire is appropriate for describing the full applicability of handheld computers.
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