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Characteristics of Educational Software Use in 106 Clinical Laboratories

Michael L. Astion MD, PhD, Sara Kim PhD, Enrique Terrazas MD, MS, Amanda Nelson
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/5RKT-PT2D-93PF-DVEK 494-500 First published online: 1 October 2002


The University of Washington, Seattle, has developed educational software for clinical laboratories. We used a 32-question survey to study software implementation. Of 106 clinical laboratories (response rate, 60%) that purchased the software and completed the survey, 89 laboratories (84%) that reported using the software formed the basis for the study. The most common software users were laboratory personnel, followed by medical technologist or medical laboratory technician students, residents, and medical students; the mean (SD) number of personnel categories using the software per laboratory was 1.8 (0.8). The most common reasons for use were initial instruction, cross-training, and competency assessment. The most frequent setting for software use was an area where laboratory testing occurred, followed by a dedicated training location, a location chosen by the employee, a classroom, and a distance learning mode. On a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent), the average satisfaction rating as an instructional tool was 4.4 and as a competency assessment tool, 4.2. Compared with laboratories in hospitals with 400 beds or fewer, laboratories in hospitals with more than 400 beds used the software for more categories of users (P = .008), had a higher proportion of laboratories using it for residents (P = .003), and had a higher proportion of laboratories with dedicated training areas (P = .02).

Key Words:
  • Computer-assisted instruction
  • Clinical laboratories
  • Survey