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Handhelds Catch On with Doctors

The human body is an immensely complicated piece of machinery and the maintenance technicians, generally called doctors, have to keep track of a tremendous amount of information in order to do their jobs well. Increasingly, they are turning to handhelds to help them mange all the data.

Since 1999, the number of doctors in the U.S. using handhelds as an integral part of their everyday practice has almost doubled from 10% to 18% this year. That number jumps up to 33% among doctors under the age of 45.

These figures come from a recent study carried out by Harris Interactive. They go on to predict that about half of all U.S. doctors will be using handheld devices by 2004 or 2005, though not necessarily for business-related purposes.

One of the purposes doctors are using handhelds for now it to keep track of the huge number of prescription drugs and how the interact. This is made much easier by ePocrates, who offers qRx 4.0 for free. This is a database that lists point-of-care information for all of the most commonly prescribed medications, from Abelcet to Zyrtec. It requires about 1.3 MB of memory on the handheld and gets updated regularly. It is being used by over 250,000 physicians.

ePocrates also offers qID 1.0, which allows doctors to find antimicrobial treatment recommendations in five seconds or less without complicated cross-referenced tables. It has concise yet complete information on over 400 bugs and 400 drugs and interfaces with qRx. It is also completely free. It takes up about 700 KB of memory.

At this time, neither application is compatible with removable expansion cards.

Any doctor with a Palm handheld would be well served by at least looking into using these free reference applications.

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epocrates - why do I get a "fatal error?"

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2001 12:04:17 PM #
In general, I've found epocrates helpful, but I get a "fatal error" message along with my palm resetting itself whenever I click on "Ziprasidone!!" Anybody else have the same problem, or know what might be happening? I hope people at Epocrates can fix this soon.

RE: epocrates - why do I get a
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2001 12:36:34 PM #
What exactly is the error? Try looking at their web site under the support section. If it isn't listed, send them an e-mail. They said mine was corrupted and sent me a new one which worked. Good luck.

RE: epocrates - why do I get a
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2001 1:11:09 PM #
This has happened to me a few times with other meds. It seems to be a problem with corrupted data, and has been easily fixed by re-downloading the product.

RE: epocrates - why do I get a
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2001 3:07:04 PM #
Buddy, the problem is with your database, not with ePocrates. I looked up ziprazidone and it worked fine. Why would you think this is a software defect when 99.9% of the other entries work fine?

RE: epocrates - why do I get a
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2001 4:26:50 PM #
Last time I checked, a database problem IS a software defect.....

Epocrates bugs
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 2:43:17 PM #
FYI - Keating Technology (Palm Canada's Maintenance Site) has claimed that Epocrates will often cause Fatal errors on Palm devices which can result in the need for a hard reset. Being responsible for ~100 devices, I have seen it happen, though it is not always common.

I agree

IanMD68 @ 8/17/2001 1:11:56 PM #
I totally agree. I have been an active user of my palm (was Vx, now m505) at work for several years. I access the reference materials daily and I don't know how I survived without it. I have converted many of my collegues, and now just about every resident is using their palm. Our hospital just bought all of the residents TRGpro's to use. I think its wonderful.

RE: I agree
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2001 1:20:05 PM #
I am not a physician but an emergency department registered nurse and paramedic. I too use a Palm (for the last 3 years) (used to have Vx now have m505) DAILY at my job and have also converted a large number of my co-workers (MD's, nurses and paramedics). I carry both ePocrates products, a drug drip rate calculator, 5 medical texts on my expansion card (thanks HandHeldMed for your forward thinking) so at the bedside I come off sounding like an expert. In addition I keep track of our severe trauma patients, my procedures log for my medic certfication, my work and teaching calender as well as personal/family appointments and contacts. The future of medicine is point of care information, having the information available immediately at the side of the patient. Palm like devices helps make this so.

Docs and Palms

jayhawk88 @ 8/17/2001 3:06:10 PM #
I work at a medical school, and for the past two years we have been giving out Palms to all the incoming 3rd year students. Palm 5x's last year, m500's this year.

They love them of course, but one thing we've noticed is that soon after they get them, we start seeing faculty and residents come in, wanting information on them. Seems "toy envy" is alive and well in the medical profession as well ;)

RE: Docs and Palms
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2001 4:38:31 PM #
"Toy envy" has ALWAYS been alive and well in the medical profession. Probably the only ones worse are the IT profession.

RE: Docs and Palms
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2001 4:47:01 PM #
Hmm... what if a doctor drops his PDA in the patient while having surgery?

RE: Docs and Palms
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2001 6:01:16 PM #
Judging by your userid (Jayhawk88) I'll go out on a limb here and guess that you are talking about KU. I wasn't aware that they had this for the 3rd year students - any chance you could send me some more information about your efforts? BTW - I'm a medical student at Louisville and we do the same thing. Thanks

Brad Thomas
BThomas76@yahoo.com

operation
JeepBastard @ 8/17/2001 8:26:58 PM #
a doctor just recently got sued after sowing one up inside of a patient by mistake.



[http://www.mediathreat.net]

One Key Issue

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2001 7:40:49 PM #
With more and more reasons and ways to use handhelds in medicine, there is one major issue with such programs as ePocrates. The problem, which was noted in the article, is the lack of support for CF/SD/MMC cards. This greatly limits the usefulness of a handheld.

For instance, ePocrates uses just over 1 meg RAM on my Handera 330. With the advent of additional memory via extension cards, one would hope that software companies would take full advantage of them. Because of this problem with ePocrates, I have begun seeking out another drug software program.

RE: One Key Issue
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 2:47:32 PM #
As a fellow Handera 330 user, the availability of software on the 330 is coming. Two suggestions for Pay pharmacopoeia are Mobile Micromedex (available through Handago or a hospital site license) or A2Z and/or Dr. Drugs (www.skyscape.com)

does anyone has a 5min Clinical Consult version 4.04prc?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/17/2001 8:27:16 PM #
Could someone e-mail me a copy of 5min clinical consult 4.04 prc from skyscape? I recently updated to 4.05, it did not work so well and the old prce was replace by the new one...
Thanks.

draognknight@yahoo.com
Paul

Handhelds in medicine

Hephaestus @ 8/17/2001 11:47:33 PM #
Doctors are not the only ones seeing increasing use of their handhelds. As a Registered Nurse working in CVICU,(Open Heart Recovery), I use my handheld constantly, for drugs, encyclopedia, calculations, and the rare 5 minutes of tetris. Many other nurses and allied health fields are finding the use of handhelds as a blessing and timesaver for all concerned.

John, RN
Atlanta, GA

PocketPC for Dr.

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 2:07:38 AM #
I bought my first PDA during this summer, namely, Handera, the best Palm PDA around. After using it for a few months, I decided to give up on the Palm OS.

Why?

Palm as an operating system is very simple and stable. Yet, with the introduction of external storage, Palm OS becomes complicated and very unstable. With both SD and CF, Handera has the best external storage support around. However, it's such a hassel to use external storage that I couldn't do anything with it. You could storage most of programs on the CF, but some you can't. Especially, the one requiring database access. Epocrates doesn't run from CF.

As far as data files, you can storage certain files on CF, not all, and they are NOT rewritable. Imagine if you have a hard drive you can only read, but not write to it. I wouldn't get that kind of computer no matter how stable it is. Actually, once you start putting things on external storage, your simple, friendly palm starts to crash.

I didn't know what to do until a few days ago, I tried PocketPC. It was a great substitute for notebook computer. It does almost everything you can do on a desktop. And it's so much more stable. I didn't have to hard reset anything for a week.

Medical software for PocketPC is more limited. But for every medical software you use on a Palm, there are equivalent softwares available for PocketPC. And all medical document files, database that you can use for Palm, you can read and write to them on PocketPC through external storage.

With more people using PocketPC, PocketPC software for medical application will increase. So take a look at PocketPC before you buy a Palm. As a professional user who want to get the most out of your PDA, you will not regret getting a PocketPC.

RE: PocketPC for Dr.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 7:41:08 AM #
Sounds like a commercial for the guy with the smallest market share. Before you buy one, better walk around with a medium stone in your lab coat. See if you like the feeling. And what about the juice? Do you have a big enough extension to keep you PPC charged? Big problems for an active professional.

RE: PocketPC for Dr.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 8:58:12 AM #
Acutally, I'm not advocating for any type of PDA. I just think it's a sad situation when everyone thinks Palm is superior than PocketPC. That was what I thought before. But it was totally untrue. All I'm saying is before you buy a Palm, try iPaq or something like that.

True, PocketPC is a bit larger, maybe much larger than Palm 500. I put them in a belt case. It doesn't really matter if it's heavier or lighter than Palm. As far as battery, when I come back home, I put iPaq on the sync cradle/charger. I've never had any problem with power shortage. Technically, it lasts 10 hrs without recharging.

On the other hand, the advantage of PocketPC is significant. Most importantly, the PocketPC os (soon, CE 4.0) is designed to work with external storages and devices. One thing I can assure you, you will never have any problem storing/accessing/editing data files on your CF if you use a PocketPC. Now prey if you're using Palm.

The Palm OS was designed to be simple and stable. That was my point. But once you try to go beyond that, you're bound to have problems.

By the way, I'm not a saleperson for any PDA companies. Just doing my rotation in hospital and decided to put some inputs here.

It's just sad how blind-folded people are when they think something is better than the other. They don't even care to do any research. No offense, I know I was like that before I bought my Handera. I wouldn't even look at PocketPC if Handera had given me so much headache for external CF usage. Seriously, if the Palm OS has been better, I'd stay with it. On the other hand, I would never find out how nice and stable a PocketPC is.

Please don't post any offending email, or anything to this thread. I'm not trying to say Palm is better or worse than PocketPC. For me, PocketPC definitely stands out. But it's a personal preference. You might still like Palm if external storage is not such a issue or you're willing to wait for a while for Palm to update its OS to provide better CF/SD support. I don't know when it's going to happen. It would be the only motivation for me to stay in Palm.

By the way, I was an electrical design engineer working in Silicon Valley before I began my medical career. So I know what I was talking about, and I do know how to tweak hardware/software to make things to work.

At last, I gave up on Palm.

Good luck!

RE: PocketPC for Dr.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 9:53:13 AM #
You apparently didn't give up on PalmInfoCenter, though. What's the matter...aren't there enough good PocketPC sites out there, or did you just post here to stir up trouble? As a Palm user, I certainly don't hang out at the PocketPC sites and post how great the Palm OS is on their message boards. What's the point of that?

RE: PocketPC for Dr.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 10:12:55 AM #
The Point is, don't be close-minded. I follow several good pocketPC websites. PocketPCpassion.com is one of them. PDAbuzz is another.

You're right, I'm not giving up on PalmInfocenter because it provides good information on the development of Palm. I'd like to see how Palm and PocketPC can benefit each other. This is what I meant by being open-minded.

If you think I'm trying to stir up troubles, I don't how that got to your mind. I'm just giving my inputs so whoever needs a PDA for medical setting can benefit from other opinions.

Please stop this kind of non-sense. I will not respond to this kind of posts any more. If you'd like to ask any comparison of these two PDA, feel free to do so. Or you can do a search on the website for PocketPC and medical, you'll find a good amount of sites.

RE: PocketPC for Dr.
ganoe @ 8/18/2001 10:30:15 AM #
The problem is pretty simple. Other than the TRGpro, Palms with serious expansion capabilities have only been available for a couple of months. There may be 10,000+ Palm applications out there, but only a dozen or so of them are aware of and reasonably handle expansion RAM via VFS. The problem isn't with Palm, the problem is that developers need to get off their butts and support it.

RE: PocketPC for Dr.
jtopf @ 8/18/2001 10:59:23 AM #
The fact that there is 10,000 palm applications means there is intense competition among them to stand-out. The introduction of the Palm 500/505 introduced a new variable to distinguish Palm applications:

Can this run off a card?

Our company made card support a priority and introduced Kidometer 4.0 in July. Trying to sdtand-out in a crowded market is difficult and being Palm OS 4.0 compliant is one way to do that.

It would be cool if Palm Gear created an Icon (like the paint brush which indicates color support) which indicates SD/MMC card support.

Developers love to get little icons next to their product listings.

Joel Topf, MD
Editor of Kidometer
www.kidometer.com

RE: PocketPC for Dr.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 11:06:01 AM #
To each his own.... However, I started out with a Pocket PC (Casiopeia 115) and switched last week to the Palm m505. The Casio was too big and sat on my desk as a result. I had a belt case but it literally pulled down my scrubs. It was too heavy and awkward. The batteries wouldn't last through a long call weekend. Now I have the Palm m500. It's light and the batteries last. I have three major texts on it as well as assorted calculators and the lot. I'm actually USING it.
Doc in PA

Sorry, Pocket PC will not catch up in the medical space
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 1:48:07 PM #
The fact that there are so many medical Palm OS users out there actually drives software developers to develop, preferentially, for the Palm platform. The hardware / software relationship is synergistic. As the medical market explodes, the delta in numbers of more users of Palm OS than Pocket PC increases exponentially. At this point, the game is effectively over. There are just too many medical Palm OS users out there for anyone to ignore. Sure, one could devote resources to developing for Pocket PC, also, however, those resources would be better used developing even more Palm OS software. I mean, we all know that PC's have some extremely crappy features compared to Mac, however, 95% of us would never think of dumping our PC's for something else, now, would we?

RE: PocketPC for Dr.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 3:23:42 PM #
My point exactly. What I'm afraid of is, 5 years down the road, we, as physicians and other medical professionals will dominate the market of Palm PDA. Not because Palm users has grow significantly in its numbers, but many potential Palm users have switched to PocketPC. And 10 years later, we will be using Palm like graphic designers using Mac, the one and probably only one using Mac nowaday.

I personally would like to see medical software for both platforms grow. Like you said, software development ties directly to hardware popularity. It's a chicken-and-egg problem. On the other hand, we honestly don't need 10,000 palm software programs. Most of them are just simple addtion to OS. If you look at PocketPC os, it has many of those "special" features bult-in.



RE: PocketPC for Dr.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 3:35:00 PM #
One more point, for all software developers out there, specially ones on medical application, is it possible for you to code your programs in a language that's easily modifiable for both Palm and PocketPC. In short term, you expand the market of your software to PockPC users. In long run, you help the growth of PocketPC, and it will further stimulate the need for your software. At the same time, you can maintain the control of your software in Palm platform.

I don't know if it's possible to do this. But if I was developing software, more specifically, coding the software, I would seriously consider the option of running the program on both platforms.

Palm emaulators start to surface now. But it would be nice to run Palm programs directly on PocketPC.

RE: PocketPC for Dr.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 4:36:06 PM #
I did compare m505 vs iPAQ and m505 came out on top. So I object your suggestions that anyone who selected Palm is "blind-folded". iPAQ, while nice, is too big; and if you need to use the expansion sleeves, it becomes difficult to carry around. I like m505's screen, size and weight, and carrying around in the shirt pocket is comfortable.

I have no problems using all the applications I need with external storage - SD/MMC cards. Many medical/application software now have built-in SD/MMC support: e.g. Skyscape products (5MCC. 5MEC, 5MPC, DrDrugs, iFacts etc), HandHeldMed reader, Kidometer, JFile etc. And those which does not have built-in support can be used with MsMount with ease (iSilo, Lexidrugs). Yes, Palm could have made it more seamless, but I certainly do not share your experience of agony in using external storage device. And in fact, I am very happy how things are running right now.

There are still many medical applications not found in PocketPC, e.g. the free eProcrates, STAT Growth, STAT Cholesterol etc, and many free iSilo text reference, databases etc. For me, iPAQ, being bigger, heavier, more expensive, more battery hungry, and less software just cannot compare.


RE: PocketPC for Dr.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 10:30:11 PM #
Author: K2
Date: 08-18-2001 19:13

Since the understandably anonymous "K" has felt compelled to grace us with no less than four copies of his spam...er, post on this forum today, let's dissect this little gem, shall we?


"I bought my first PDA during this summer"

It's still summer, folks. This guy is a total newbie, but he's giving us all advice. Hmm...


"namely, Handera, the best Palm PDA around."

Totally subjective. There is no "best" Palm device for everyone. Let's separate the facts from the opinions here.


"After using it for a few months, I decided to give up on the Palm OS."

A few months? Let's see...he bought it "this summer"...it's August (still summer). Summer is three months long. So you used your HandEra 330 for, at most, two months? Somehow, I doubt it was even that long. Did you even own a HandEra 330 at all? I wonder...


"Palm as an operating system is very simple and stable. Yet, with the introduction of external storage, Palm OS becomes complicated and very unstable."

Says who, you? Sorry, but I've been using expandable Palm devices for over two years. There is absolutely no difference in stability with the addition of expandable storage, assuming you're not trying to do anything stupid, like run programs from expansion cards that aren't compatible with expansion cards (which is easy enough to verify simply by asking the program's author or checking their Web site).


"With both SD and CF, Handera has the best external storage support around."

Maybe, maybe not. Handspring's Springboard storage is nothing to sneeze at.


"However, it's such a hassel to use external storage that I couldn't do anything with it."

Maybe that's because you didn't know what the hell you were doing. I don't recall you posting here asking for help getting programs working. Did you even try?


"You could storage most of programs on the CF, but some you can't. Especially, the one requiring database access. Epocrates doesn't run from CF."

Thanks for telling us what we already know. Despite these limitations, CF is very useful for lots of other programs


"As far as data files, you can storage certain files on CF, not all, and they are NOT rewritable."

Again, DUH. This is old news, buddy. If you have to write to a file, simply keep it in RAM. How hard is that?


"Imagine if you have a hard drive you can only read, but not write to it."

In debating circles, this is known as a "straw man" arguement. Pretty lame. A Palm isn't a desktop computer. Save the half-baked analogies.


"Actually, once you start putting things on external storage, your simple, friendly palm starts to crash."

Not if you're using software that's compatible with the CF card. If you find this simple fact difficult to handle, I can't imagine how you managed to enjoy using a Pocket PC.


"I didn't know what todo until a few days ago, I tried PocketPC. It was a great substitute for notebook computer. It does almost everything you can do on a desktop."

Oh, please. Even Microsoft doesn't try to make that claim.


"And it's so much more stable. I didn't have to hard reset anything for a week."

Probably because you didn't install any third-party software.


"Medical software for PocketPC is more limited. But for every medical software you use on a Palm, there are equivalent softwares available for PocketPC."

No, there isn't. I won't even argue the idiocy of that statement. If all you want is a drug reference and a few e-books, you're set. If your needs are more specialized, good luck. And freeware? Well, there's Archimedes, and...er...um...well, Archimedes.


"And all medical document files, database that you can use for Palm, you can read and write to them on PocketPC through external storage."

Good thing you can use all those Palm docs, since there sure as hell isn't much out there for Pocket PC.


"With more people using PocketPC, PocketPC software for medical application will increase."

You hope. Unfortunately, wishing doesn't always make it so.


"So take a look at PocketPC before you buy a Palm. As a professional user who want to get the most out of your PDA, you will not regret getting a PocketPC."

Yeah, right. How much is Microsoft paying you, anyway

RE: PocketPC for Dr.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/18/2001 10:32:53 PM #
You are the weakest link..........Goodbye!!!!!!!

RE: PocketPC for Dr.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 12:39:28 AM #
I agree, he was the weakest link. I cut my teeth on the Vx, and was very comfortable with everything about it. Virtually no worthwhile apps were (are?) available for CE. Remember when the 505 was released and we had no idea how to run it until a Clie guy wrote a thread on using MSMount/McFile/PowerRun? If you read that thread you can see that we were all pretty disappointed and confused. Today, if some newbie (no disrespect intended-we were all newbies @ one time) buys a 505 he is in for a big surprise if he expects to use 64MB. Palm has done virtually NOTHING to support it. He has to find some programs written by independant Japanese developers that are NOT on Palmgear. Easy to see why he was disappointed.

RE: PocketPC for Dr.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 3:28:09 AM #
Some facts:

* There are over 1000 software available for PockPC on Handango.com

* Some of most useful software on PocketPC(Word, Excel, IE, Outlook, Media Player, etc) are built-in. No need to buy software to view them.

* All medical document, database files that're available for Palm can be viewed and edited on PocketPC.

* All programs can be stored and run from external storage.

* All document files and databases files can be read and write to on external storage.

* No need to search through newsgroup, forum, discussion board to figure out how to use external storage on PocketPC. If you know how to use hard drive for your PC, you know how to CF on your PocketPC.

* Window CE 3.0 = stability

* Two more major international companies will introduce new PocketPC devices by the end of this year: Toshiba and NEC. At least 5 other smaller companies will introduce new PocketPC devices within half a year.



RE: PocketPC for Dr.
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/26/2002 7:13:26 PM #
HI!

I agree with you. I am using the pocketpc and it is great! It is bulkier but more user friendly and has great graphics. Do you know if there is an free drug database for the pocketpc like there is epocrates for the the palm?

Med Market in the bag?

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 12:41:25 PM #
Remember when it seemed "everyone" had an Apple II computer?
Then the Atari ST/Falcon became THE platform for music, then the Macintosh. Now, most is done on PCs.
Further, Mac doesn't have near the market shar in graphics it once had, either.

Saying any market is going to keep going on a particular platform to the exclusion of others is only looking at the immediately obvious. This is shortsighted.

Microsoft is busting their butts to take CE on handhelds where Windows is on desktops. With all their resources, it's likely only a competitor making nearly superhuman effort to resolve all these kinds of issues like large database storage will be able to keep in front. And even so, they're still bound to have a few teeth marks in their heels....


Handhelds and Lawyers too

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/20/2001 8:06:47 PM #
Handhelds are catching on with lawyers as well. New York Law School has recently created a web site for law students and lawyers who use PalmOS handhelds. Check out www.jurispda.com.

Handhelds and Real Estate Agents

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/21/2001 12:04:31 AM #
Handhelds have seem to really taken off with Real Estate Agents. There are special programs for Real Estate Agents out there, for almost everything, from Complete PIMS to Mortage programs to electronic lockbox openers. Unfortunately, most of the hardware add ons are built only for the Palm Vx, and let's just say that don't keep updated. However, as a Real Estate Agent, I can easily say I am very happy I have a PDA, I use it to death! and I couldn't live without it now! I own a Palm Vx, but now that I really know this "baby" I think 'll probably "graduate to a "color Clie'" soon...


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