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Are Palm Pilots really any use?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Mikado, Apr 23, 2001.

  1. Mikado

    Mikado Senior Member

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    I kind of suspect that palm pilots are a flash in the pan, waste of money, fad.

    Are there any med students out there who find them to be indispensible or even usefull for med school? Why?
     
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  3. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    PDAs have been in use a little too long to qualify as a fad and most medical students and many residents I worked with have them. They are indispensible for having a %&$^load of information at your fingertips in the form of electronic texts and programs.

    I frankly found the old card system easier to use for individual patients (I could access the information quicker than with the PDA) but it sure beats lugging around handbooks and textbooks. Mikado I would suggest doing a search herewith for this topic as it has been discussed extensively as well as taking a gander at the forum dedicated to this topic at http://students.medschool.com which I am sure you will find useful.
     
  4. Billie

    Billie An Oldie but a Goodie...

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    On my Handspring Visor I have 2 pharm references, the Merck manual and the Washington manual. And that one Visor takes up A LOT less space in my pocket than having 4 books there.

    I use my Visor every day.

    Billie
     
  5. Cassidy61

    Cassidy61 Senior Member

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    A real necessity. Our preceptors expect students to have them and often ask you to look something up. Needless to say, when you quickly and efficiently dispense medical information, your grade is helped!
     
  6. kris

    kris Senior Member

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    I've got a pretty basic question here. We own a Geo, no hubcaps. We dream of the day we can afford a car with hubcaps. Needless to say, a palmpilot is out of our budget right now. So as someone who knows next to nothing about how they work, here's my question:

    If the palms are mainly used to store books, are the e-book machines just as good for this purpose? Or is there some feature of palms that makes them more useful for looking up stuff in the Merck, for example.

    --kris, the cheapskate
     
  7. Billie

    Billie An Oldie but a Goodie...

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    Well I don't know how much an ebook is, but I would be willing to bet you could get a Visor or Palm cheaper than an ebook. Used to be the Visor was cheaper than Palm, but Palm has come out with one that has the same amount of memory and is cheaper than Visor.

    I like the other features that these PDA's have such as being able to sync with my computer, the Internet, send and receive mail, keep track of my schedule and phone numbers (esp the various hospital extensions to different depts.) etc etc.

    Just my .02 [​IMG]

    Billie
     
  8. Djanaba

    Djanaba Senior Member

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    In our Clin Med IV rotation, we are REQUIRED to use a PDA for patient tracking, which is downloaded daily to the system. (They are provided, but I want one of my own.)

    Now, my question: WHICH one do I get? Not which software, which MACHINE? I don't want color, I don't want the web, but I sure do want a decent machine that will do its thing for a very long time....
     
  9. puffy1

    puffy1 Senior Member

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    kris:

    If you hurry, you can buy yourself a new handspring visor deluxe for $200. There is a $50 mail-in rebate offered by handspring and is good through the end of April. The only drawback is that you have to pay everything up-front.
     
  10. Azygous

    Azygous Senior Member

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    I think a PDA will be most useful during 3rd and 4th years during rotations. However, during the first two years, it's pretty useless. Invariably, you have those few med students who like to flash their technology in everyone else's face. Oh well, happy pdaing.
     
  11. DrWBD

    DrWBD Formerly 'wanna_be_do'
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    Um, yeah, they're just a fad.

    Hey, let's do a rotation together, I'll have my Handspring Visor with ePocrates, 5 Minute Clinical Consult, and MedMath (among other programs). You won't. Let's see who is able to get info first and impress our residents and attendings the most. [​IMG] [​IMG]

    [This message has been edited by wanna_be_do (edited April 26, 2001).]
     
  12. Col_4:14

    Col_4:14 Senior Member

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    Palm pilots are useful, after medical school. I spoke with a friend of mine this weekend who is finishing up his 3rd year of residency and he told me that the Palm Pilot is his new best friend. He showed me how physicians use it. Entire Internal medicine diagnostic books have been loaded into palm pilots. All a physician needs to do is to click on an ailment and all the information for that ailment and the drugs recommended for treatment, will appear. If you click on the drug, all of the side effects and reactions to other medications will also appear. Now, as you can imagine, a medical student equipped with this much info, would be a walking reference book during his/her rotations. I guess the idea is, learn the information first, then you earn the right to have the cheat sheet [​IMG] I really don't know. I have heard that some medical schools will require them for the 3rd and 4th year. Anyone know???
     
  13. Col_4:14

    Col_4:14 Senior Member

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    Also, I just read Djanaba posting and patient tracking is the big hope for palm pilot's future in medicine. Physicians will be able to receive and manage updated patient information (labs, prescriptions, etc) from their palm pilots. I also agree with another posting saying that the they are useless for 1st and 2nd year students (like me). You can't take it with you for the boards. [​IMG]
     
  14. Col_4:14

    Col_4:14 Senior Member

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    But another word, a patient will quickly lose confidence in their physician is they them relying on a palm pilot. Also, patient confidentiality issues might hamper palm pilot's future for updated patient info.
     
  15. DrWBD

    DrWBD Formerly 'wanna_be_do'
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    I disagree that PDAs are useless for 1st and 2nd year.
    I'm an MS-2 and found ePocrates invaluable when studying Pharmacology. For our medicine classes, having a Pocket Harrison's is also tremendously helpful [​IMG]
     
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  17. Mikado

    Mikado Senior Member

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    Does the PDA medical dictionary have word origins with the definitions?
     
  18. pcl

    pcl Senior Member

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    The hospital where I work is piloting using PDA's as hand held dictation devices. Physicians record voice files, when they are finished, they set it on the rocker and it *securely* uploads to a MT somewhere in the naiton, then is downloaded into the hospital's EMR within 24 hours. Pretty cool stuff.
     
  19. KimR

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  20. tristate

    tristate Senior Member

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    A PDA was very useful during our medical mission trip to Juarez, Mexico. Our traveling pharmacy was limited on the number of drugs, so it was great to find analogs of drugs that we would have liked to perscribed, but weren't able to. Even though we weren't able to bring an entire medical center, it's great when a little bit of technology can be used to help a medically-underserved population.
     
  21. gp

    gp Member

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    Kris -

    On the "Why not e-book machine" - PDAs have many other functions besides document reader - date planner, phone book (keep all those pager #s handy), calculator (there are many programs that do clinical calculations, not to mention having a plain old calculator on there as well); alarm clock - to catch 10 min of zzzz's here and there; AvantGo allows you to download websites - so you can get news and journal tracking. They're like little computers, and they're much smaller than the e-book machines - a little bigger than 3" x 5" index card...

    I haven't found mine to be terribly useful first year - mostly because our schedule is so regimented - I just follow my classmates around all day. I might look into some reference material for 2nd year to get started, but I really see it as essential for clinical years and beyond. In fact, I am waiting to upgrade at the end of next year - to get the best technology available at the time.

    I would start saving for one...probably more important than a home computer.
     
  22. im4real

    im4real Senior Member

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    I just wanted to let you know that all the residents in my husband program have handheld palms/visors. My husband didn't have one in med school, but got one shortly after starting his Intern year and most of the Interns had Handhelds already.

    Well, just wanted to let you know our experience here. My MD couldn't live without his Visor now that he has one!!! And most of the others are the same way!

    I hope this helps!!

    Christy :)
     
  23. kris

    kris Senior Member

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    First, thanks all for responses about 'why not e-books'.

    Second, I just read the article linked above, and it looks horrible! It appears the med school's main interest in this case is to micro-manage their students. I had enough paternalism growing up, thanks.

    I mean, keeping track of what I read?!

    This looks like the worst implementation of technology I've seen since I had a 'talk time' working for credit card customer service.

    --kris (I'm really in a mood today--probably shouldn't be posting at all ;) )
     
  24. Sheon

    Sheon Senior Member

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    I'm not clear on how the PDAs are useful in managing patients. What functions are you actually using it for in managing patients?

    Where are you getting these reference books to download onto the PDAs?

    Most of the PDAs I've seen available are with 8MB memory. Is that sufficient for the kinds of downloads people have been talking about here?

    I very interested in knowing how useful these things have been for anyone who uses them.
     
  25. getphedup

    getphedup Junior Member

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    My school has just instituted the HP Jornada-windows ce for all M2's. Not as widely used as Palm os, but it has many advantages-more of a computer.

    Handheldmed.com has all types of software for both systems including a patient tracker, many reference texts.

    For M1 and M2's-they are definitely useful. As and M2 I used mine every day for drug reference and Merck Manual. Also as an M3 when are you going to learn how to use it-during your surgery rotation? It takes some time getting used to, I highly recommend getting it as early as you can.

    Someone said that patients will doubt their physician for using a PDA-quite the opposite. A few articles have been written and show that patients are comforted by the fact their physician is up to date and familiar with current technology. Also it saves time-much easier to look up drug interaction on a PDA than to leave the patients room, go to your office, and look up drug interactions in the 10 pound PDR.

    Epocrates alone has prevented 1000's of drug errors. New software is being used which allows docs to send prescription directly to the pharmacy, increasing the likelihood that the patient will actually get the prescription and decreasing the likelihood of an error due to our horrible handwriting.

    As voice recognition software become more user friendly, these thing will replace dictation services and further decrease the amount of errors in charting.
     
  26. Besyonek

    Besyonek Senior Member

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    Sheon, the handsprings (and newer palms) have a module slot for adding auxillary devices or files. I have a handspring platinum with the springboard slot. Already there are modules for Harrison's and the Washington Manual. Thus, you don't need to use up memory by storing the book on the PDA, you just remove the module when you're done using it. :cool: I start my clinical clerkships pretty soon and have been told that having a PDA is a huge asset no matter what unit you're on.
     
  27. im4real

    im4real Senior Member

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  28. joojoobeware

    joojoobeware Member

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    I use my handspring everyday...
    for both organizing...phone numbers..
    I know for a fact that these programs on the PDA will/are going to be helpful in the clinical field...
     
  29. BS

    BS Junior Member

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    I was a little weary about purchasing a palm (they are req'd for 3rd and 4th year down here)--glad to hear that are so 'usable'. Is there a particular brand, or something in particular to look for with the palms??
    Thanks for the info!
    BS
     
  30. codeguy

    codeguy Member

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    Even the tiny rural residency program at my local small town hospital that accepts 6 residents a year is moving to Palm Pilots.
     
  31. kris

    kris Senior Member

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    One guy just posted a great thread on SDN within the last two weeks. He (or she) gave, in great detail, the reasons for his choice. It looks like expandability is one option you want to look for.

    I'm sorry I don't have time at the moment to do a search for that thread, but you might be able to find it with the search function. I really do have to run out the door.
    --kris
     
  32. kris

    kris Senior Member

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  33. BS

    BS Junior Member

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  34. kris

    kris Senior Member

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    No problemo!
     
  35. Mikado

    Mikado Senior Member

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    Does anyone know when or how many times a year new models of PDA come on the market?
     
  36. LabRat27

    LabRat27 Junior Member

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