PDAs and Smartphones: Clinical Tools for Physicians

Andrew E. Craig, MSN, FNP-C


October 09, 2009

In This Article


Today's cell phone technology has advanced to the point that a cell phone can do much more than just place calls. Along with the personal digital assistant (PDA), these devices can now play a major role in making clinical information portable and readily available.

Robert Jones, MD, is a family practice physician with a subspecialty in sports medicine practicing in Charlotte, North Carolina. He serves as the medical director for the student health center of a large public university, he's the team doctor for the athletic department at that same university, and he's on the faculty of a family practice residency program. Filling all these roles keeps Dr. Jones constantly on the move, and he relies on handheld technology to keep him connected and informed in several ways.

Smartphones and PDAs can be extremely helpful to physicians caring for patients. Whether in your office, a clinic, or the hospital, the ability to check drugs and dosages instantly at the point of care results in better patient care and can sometimes be lifesaving.

In testimony before the US Senate in 2000 regarding adverse drug events, the President of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices quoted a 1995 study by Leape and colleagues in JAMA that reported that over 40% of adverse drug events can be tied to a lack of critical patient information and drug information at the time of prescribing, dispensing, and administration of medications.[1] Smartphones and PDAs can provide this information to physicians instantly at the point of care.


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