Comparing the effects of paper and digital checklists on team performance in time-critical work

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings




Digital checklist; Medical records; Team performance; Technology implementation; Trauma resuscitation; User interface design


© 2019 Association for Computing Machinery. This mixed-methods study examines the effects of a tablet-based checklist system on team performance during a dynamic and safety-critical process of trauma resuscitation. We compared team performance from 47 resuscitations that used a paper checklist to that from 47 cases with a digital checklist to determine if digitizing a checklist led to improvements in task completion rates and in how fast the tasks were initiated for 18 most critical assessment and treatment tasks. We also compared if the checklist compliance increased with the digital design. We found that using the digital checklist led to more frequent completions of the initial airway assessment task but fewer completions of ear and lower extremities exams. We did not observe any significant differences in time to task performance, but found increased compliance with the checklist. Although improvements in team performance with the digital checklist were minor, our findings are important because they showed no adverse effects as a result of the digital checklist introduction. We conclude by discussing the takeaways and implications of these results for effective digitization of medical work.

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