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Cost-Effectiveness of Mobile App-Guided Training in Extended Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (eFAST): A Randomized Trial

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Purpose Ultrasound training is associated with a long learning curve and use of substantial faculty resources. Self-directed ultrasound training may decrease the need for faculty-led teaching. Mobile apps seem promising for use in self-directed ultrasound training, but no studies have examined the cost-effectiveness of mobile app-guided training versus traditional formats such as textbook-guided training. This study evaluated the cost-effectiveness of mobile app-guided versus textbook-guided ultrasound training. Material and methods First-year residents (n = 38) with no previous ultrasound experience were randomized into mobile app-guided versus textbook-guided self-directed ultrasound training groups. Participants completed a transfer test involving four patient cases and a theoretical test on diagnostic accuracy. Two ultrasound experts assessed the residents' performance using the Objective Structured Assessment of Ultrasound Skills (OSAUS) scale. The costs of developing mobile app and textbook material were calculated and used for the analysis of cost-effectiveness. Results 34 participants completed the transfer test. There was no statistically significant difference in test performance or diagnostic accuracy between the mobile app-guided (mean-OSAUS 42.3 % [95 %CI38.5 - 46.0 %]) and textbook-guided groups (mean-OSAUS 45.3 % [95 %CI39.3 - 51.3 %]) (d.f. [1.33] = 0.45, p = 0.41). However, development costs differed greatly for each instructional format. Textbook-guided training was significantly more cost-effective than mobile app-guided training (Incremental Cost Effectiveness Ratio -861 967 [95 %CI-1071.7 to-3.2] USD/pct. point change in OSAUS score). Conclusion Mobile app-guided ultrasound training is less cost-effective than textbook-guided self-directed training. This study underlines the need for careful evaluation of cost-effectiveness when introducing technological innovations for clinical skills training.

Original languageEnglish
JournalUltraschall in der Medizin
Volume38
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)642-647
ISSN0172-4614
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 52072202