The Integration of Electronic Medical Student Evaluations Into an Emergency Department Tracking System is Associated With Increased Quality and Quantity of Evaluations.

Date Published:

2016 Jun 29


BACKGROUND: Medical student evaluations are essential for determining clerkship grades. Electronic evaluations have various advantages compared to paper evaluations, such as increased ease of collection, asynchronous reporting, and decreased likelihood of becoming lost. OBJECTIVES: To determine whether electronic medical student evaluations (EMSEs) provide more evaluations and content when compared to paper shift card evaluations. METHODS: This before and after cohort study was conducted over a 2.5-year period at an academic hospital affiliated with a medical school and emergency medicine residency program. EMSEs replaced the paper shift evaluations that had previously been used halfway through the study period. A random sample of the free text comments on both paper and EMSEs were blindly judged by medical student clerkship directors for their helpfulness and usefulness. Logistic regression was used to test for any relationship between quality and quantity of words. RESULTS: A total of 135 paper evaluations for 30 students and then 570 EMSEs for 62 students were collected. An average of 4.8 (standard deviation [SD] 3.2) evaluations were completed per student using the paper version compared to 9.0 (SD 3.8) evaluations completed per student electronically (p < 0.001). There was an average of 8.8 (SD 8.5) words of free text evaluation on paper evaluations when compared to 22.5 (SD 28.4) words for EMSEs (p < 0.001). A statistically significant (p < 0.02) association between quality of an evaluation and the word count existed. CONCLUSIONS: EMSEs that were integrated into the emergency department tracking system significantly increased the number of evaluations completed compared to paper evaluations. In addition, the EMSEs captured more "helpful/useful" information about the individual students as evidenced by the longer free text entries per evaluation.