Development and testing of a scale to assess physician attitudes about handheld computers with decision support

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Analysis of Variance; *Attitude of Health Personnel; *Attitude to Computers; *Computers, Handheld; *Decision Support Systems, Clinical; Evaluation Studies as Topic; Humans; Physicians; *Psychometrics; Reproducibility of Results


Bioinformatics | Biostatistics | Epidemiology | Health Services Research


OBJECTIVE: The authors developed and evaluated a rating scale, the Attitudes toward Handheld Decision Support Software Scale (H-DSS), to assess physician attitudes about handheld decision support systems.

DESIGN: The authors conducted a prospective assessment of psychometric characteristics of the H-DSS including reliability, validity, and responsiveness. Participants were 82 Internal Medicine residents. A higher score on each of the 14 five-point Likert scale items reflected a more positive attitude about handheld DSS. The H-DSS score is the mean across the fourteen items. Attitudes toward the use of the handheld DSS were assessed prior to and six months after receiving the handheld device.

STATISTICS: Cronbach's Alpha was used to assess internal consistency reliability. Pearson correlations were used to estimate and detect significant associations between scale scores and other measures (validity). Paired sample t-tests were used to test for changes in the mean attitude scale score (responsiveness) and for differences between groups.

RESULTS: Internal consistency reliability for the scale was alpha = 0.73. In testing validity, moderate correlations were noted between the attitude scale scores and self-reported Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) usage in the hospital (correlation coefficient = 0.55) and clinic (0.48), p < 0.05 for both. The scale was responsive, in that it detected the expected increase in scores between the two administrations (3.99 (s.d. = 0.35) vs. 4.08, (s.d. = 0.34), p < 0.005).

CONCLUSION: The authors' evaluation showed that the H-DSS scale was reliable, valid, and responsive. The scale can be used to guide future handheld DSS development and implementation.

DOI of Published Version



J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2006 Sep-Oct;13(5):567-72. Epub 2006 Jun 23. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed