Predictive Text Keyboard Applications in a Healthcare Setting

Stephanie Omage
Stephanie Omage
University of Queensland
School of Medicine

Omage S, Mahnke A, Lin S.
Biomedical Informatics Research Center

Research area: Interactive Clinical Design 

Background: Mobile technological devices such as tablets are gradually being introduced for healthcare activities such as data entry. Fast and accurate data entry is desirable. Typing with these devices may require learning to use touchscreen/onscreen keyboards. We evaluated the effectiveness, efficacy and satisfaction of using default and predictive text keyboards on a Samsung tablet.

Methods: Medical/clinical note-taking personnel participated in a one-time usability evaluation lasting approximately 30 minutes. This usability test was conducted in a simulated environment on a Samsung android tablet using both default and predictive keyboards. Participants were asked to take on the role of a medical provider typing de-identified sample clinical notes. Effectiveness (accuracy/error rates) and efficacy (words per minute) of each keyboard were recorded and measured using a Morae recorder and ExamDiff Pro comparison tool. Baseline (or typical) typing speed was measured on a Fujitsu convertible laptop computer. The sequence of the keyboard test (default, predictive or Fujitsu) was randomized. Participants’ subjective experiences including satisfaction were queried using surveys and an exit interview.

Results: Under IRB approval, 15 subjects were recruited. Median typing speed (in words per minute, WPM) was faster in the default (17.9) than predictive keyboard (13.3), with p-value=0.03. Percentage error for the predictive text keyboard was 3.81 and that for the default keyboard was lower at 3.50 (p>0.05). Eight out of 15 participants preferred predictive keyboard over the default when queried through survey.

Conclusions: Although participants were not comfortable with predictive texting initially, many expressed potential to learn to use it and become more efficient with it. A longitudinal study following participants over time can monitor change or lack of change in effectiveness, efficacy and satisfaction of using predictive keyboards over time.