Palm Pilots could change how health care is delivered


EMBARGO: 00:01H (London time) Friday September 30, 2005. In North America the embargo lifts at 6:30pm ET Thursday September 29, 2005.

Personal digital assistants (PDAs) and their increasing integration with information technology in hospitals could change the way health care is delivered in the future, states a review article in this week's issue of THE LANCET.

PDAs can be used for medical student education, physician training, clinical practice, and research. Clinicians are rapidly adopting PDAs into their daily practice. In one study, more than half of all doctors younger than 35 years in developed countries used a PDA in 2003. Despite the increasing use of PDAs, more evidence from well-designed research studies is needed to show how much these devices can improve the quality of care, save patients' lives, and ultimately reduce health-care expenses, concludes the author Daniel C. Baumgart (Charité Medical School, Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany).

Dr Baumgart states: "The future of information exchange in medicine is digital and wireless…Physicians, nurses, dieticians, medical students and trainees, and other health-care professionals must review an ever-increasing amount of constantly changing information about their patients several times a day and correlate data with the most recent diagnostic and therapeutic recommendations and management options to make sound decisions…Traditionally these needs were addressed independently with separate devices, reference systems and networks. Personal digital assistants are capable of changing how health care is delivered in the future since they aim to merge and integrate this functionality in one device that is versatile, customisable, and portable."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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