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Technology Blackberry as a medical PDA?

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StatCoder

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On a regular basis I get emails from Blackberry users about the possibility of clinical software being developed for this platform. Apparently, there are groups, etc. that are moving to Blackberry from pagers. The usual line is that iPhones are toys and that Blackberrys are for serious users.

Does anyone out there think that a Blackberry will ever become the first or second PDA platform in terms of popularity among clinicians? In my opinion, there's no point in being the Linux of the PDA world (third) in a niche market such as clinical PDAs. Why would anyone spend time working on a version for the third most popular platform when there are updates to be done on the versions written for the first two?

Sure, there will be reference texts that simply need to be reformatted to appear on whatever platform you like. However, the custom apps like growth charts and Framingham/ATP III risk calculators will have to be written specifically for that platform.

I think that Blackberry might be the easiest transition to a mobile phone/two-way messaging system from an IT department standpoint because of its pager roots. I don't think there is much of a consideration, though, about the availability of medical software for the end user beyond the standard reference texts being available along with Epocrates.
 

Blue Dog

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I think you could get by with a Blackberry as long as your needs were pretty basic. For some people, Epocrates might be all they need. The platform has a long way to go before it will be a serious threat to Palm, WinMob, or the iPhone. The new Blackberry Storm is probably a step in the right direction, as it finally has a touch screen. Of course, many existing applications will have to be re-written for the Storm, so it's a double-edged sword.
 

StatCoder

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RIM Warns of Weak Quarter — Is New Storm Partly to Blame?

Late Tuesday — at 9:40 p.m. ET — Research In Motion warned of disappointing quarterly results on weaker-than-expected demand, currency headwinds and product launch delays, but said there was strong demand for its new products, including BlackBerry Storm. However, Piper Jaffray says its channel checks indicate mixed to disappointing results for the Storm, with several store managers at Verizon Wireless saying there’s a relatively high number of disgruntled customers returning the Storm due to software issues. Piper said software updates may not reach customers until mid to late December and new batch of Storms may not hit Verizon stores until January.


It's amazing how the media can be manipuated by a PR campaign. Up until now, the story has been people lining up around the block to buy these things. However, reviews have been mixed to negative. Perhaps RIM will eventually get the touch screen right, however, the iPhone has a two year head start.

I think that the Blackberry will probably always be a great device for rapid text messaging and emailing, however, it remains to be seen how many people will ultimately want to use this as a touch screen device. I don't think we will ever see anything other than the most generic of medical apps for this platform (drug references and text references).
 
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