Comments on: Doctors Use Handhelds to Save Lives

Doctors have been at the forefront of the handheld-revolution, using palmtops to hold the bulky reference works they need and even keeping track of patient data. Techniques that were once used by individual doctors are now becoming standards. Hospitals are now using handhelds to help ensure ensure smoother, more efficient patient care, such as streamlining post-operative patient-management, medication-monitoring and risk-assessment procedures.
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I.M. Anonymous @ 11/21/2001 11:15:45 AM #
Besides the integrated back-end solutions mentioned above, many many Doctors are using Palms for ePocrates - the killer app for MD's. It's a great drug reference that saves time and alleviates the need to carry around so many reference books...

The Palm platform must outnumber PPC in the medical community by at least 10:1...

RE: ePocrates
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/21/2001 2:39:02 PM #
I'd agree ePocrates is nice, but I have a hard time calling it a "killer app" without VFS support. I've got a 64mb card with plenty of space but almost no free RAM since many of these "killer" med apps (Tarascon, QID, Sanford Guide) kill 8mb in no time. Maybe these "smart" companies will make some smart software one of these days. (K2 software excluded which works from the card)

RE: ePocrates
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/21/2001 2:57:41 PM #
A "killer ap" doesn't have to have expansion card support. My idea of a killer ap is a single program that is so useful it justifies the purchase of the handheld. ePocrates meets this definition for me. BTW, it doen's look like ePocrates will be "officially" supporting expansion cards anytime soon :-(

RE: ePocrates
mknowledge @ 11/21/2001 5:02:54 PM #
Both are excellent points...

It is one of the great illusions of the Palm.... VFS and external expansion storage....

Alas, one's definition of "killer app" is indeed subjective... and mission critical to the user's perspective.

Glad to know K2 supports expansion cards, now if they would only make more frequent updates... they have a killer user interface compared to ePocrates...

RE: ePocrates
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/21/2001 5:52:56 PM #
>It is one of the great illusions of the Palm.... VFS and external expansion storage<

Illusion? It's no illusion provided the developer supports it.

RE: ePocrates
ssummer @ 11/21/2001 9:21:22 PM #
ePocrates (qID and QRx) works fine for me with MSMount. They do need to take a hint from companies like Skyscape and get on the VFS bandwagon...

RE: ePocrates
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/21/2001 10:58:42 PM #
Lexi-comp's LexiDrugs supports expansion cards and is updated weekly. Well worth the cost.

Sanford sucks!
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/21/2001 11:10:37 PM #
I wasted my money on the new Sanford. It wants to load 135 separate files into your palmpilot! Even with 6 MB used, Mcfile only reports I have 125 files in RAM before loading this piece of junk. The interface also sucks. You have to keep drilling down to find the information you need and there is no way to compare drug spectrums or bug susceptibilities.

No wonder the Sanford website makes such a big deal about stressing that there are no refunds!!

Don't say you weren't warned

RE: Sanford Sucks
rhsavel @ 11/22/2001 12:27:49 AM #
I couldn't agree more. I mean conceptually it is very very nice to have all of the sanford guide on the palm pilot and they appear to be very proud of their "drill down" interface, but it's just too much time. Most people tell me that they want to have those world-famous drug charts with all the +++ and 00's and they aren't on the palm version. And why is it soooo much money. Oh well, you win some you lose some. It seems that isilo is really powerful for the palm physician. and you gotta love that TIMI program.

RE: ePocrates
ssummer @ 11/22/2001 8:40:55 AM #
What's TIMI? While I'm at it, what's K2?

Sanford is a dud!
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/24/2001 5:36:16 PM #
Let me agree with other posters that Sanford has done a terrible job utilizing the Palm interface. One hundred and thirty five files, poor construction of the interface...ahhh! I love the Skyscape programs. Dr Davis Drug guide is much more thorough than Epocrates, but at a $40 cost (My mom always said "You get what you pay for"). Their 5 Minute Clinician series is also excellent.

RE: ePocrates
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/24/2001 9:49:24 PM #
I assume you guys are referring to Sanford's abx guidelines? Try ID notes. It is comprehensive AND internally hyperlinked. You would be amazed. MUCH better than QID. It is an iSilo file, so with the newest iSilo reader you can put it on the card. It is extremely compact @ <650K and uses no RAM!


RE: ePocrates
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/24/2001 9:59:47 PM #
I agree. ID notes beats all other ID apps hands down. The internal linking is what really makes it work. It's also reasonably priced. A "workhorse" program like MedCalc and MedRules. Skyscape apps are truly nice, but pricey. As with anything else, patched PRC files are easy to come by if you know where to look. They are also very nicely internally linked. If you leave the PRC file in RAM the inter-program links still run correctly.

RE: ePocrates
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/25/2001 10:51:35 PM #
Skyscape probably makes the best products but I do wish they had a student price. DrDrugs is great and has a lot more info than ePocrates although ePocrates is faster to look things up on and has a better interface.

"Killer App"

I.M. Anonymous @ 11/21/2001 11:04:46 PM #
What is really the "killer app" in medicine is this new-found ability to access reference material easily at the site of patient care. I used to lug around textbooks in my call bag so I could look up the unusual symptoms and diseases and workup, along with pockets stuffed with slips of paper and 3x5 cards. Not any more. Now I can carry 5MCC, Pocket Harrison's, The Merck Manual, LexiDrugs and the truly excellent Clinical Medicine Consult by Carl Weber in my pocket. That portability of information that the Palmpilot makes possible is the true killer app.

RE: killer ap
rhsavel @ 11/22/2001 12:30:47 AM #
Whoever you are who posted this fact is 100% correct. I have been using a palm as a physician since 1997 (hundreds of years ago in computer terms) and you are exactly right. I just upgraded to a Sony Clie S320 with a 32MB expansion card and it totally allows me to rethink what the palm is. Though I don't work for sony, just by showing it to 2 of my friends, they each bought one. To have so much information right at your fingertips is EXACTLY what physicians want and need.

I.M. Anonymous @ 11/23/2001 4:38:35 PM #
Doctors are not the only ones using Palm. I am a registered nurse/paramedic in a busy ED. Carry a m505 with 64mb card. Have Harrisons, 5MCC, 5MEC, 5MPC, Harriet Lane, Merck and Tabers along with ePocrates qRx and qID. It is great if a patient comes into the ED with a disease or syndrome I am unfamiliar with. 1-2 minutes later after browsing the palm I am a lot more comfortable about their problem. Also use infusicalc with pre-programmed drugs that we commonly use (dopamine, nipride, esmolol, etc, etc). Just plug in the weight and dose and BAM, I have the drip rate! Palms in the ED are lifesavers!!

so this begs the question...

I.M. Anonymous @ 11/22/2001 8:22:08 AM #
Would these doctors then be called Palm Docs :)

Only for data retrieval so far

I.M. Anonymous @ 11/22/2001 2:31:03 PM #
Two major functions for a Palm device in medicine:
1. Information retrieval (texts, patient lab data, etc.)
2. Information entry

The Palm excels in information retrieval, although formating, diagrams, and appropriate content remain critical issues.

Information entry, however, is still very cumbersome at best. IBMs experiments with voice recognition could bridge that impasse.

RE: Only for data retrieval so far
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/23/2001 7:40:35 AM #
Although information retrieval is clearly easier than data entry, new medical Palm apps, such as TestTrakker, appear to be to be minimizing the requirements of data entry, making their usage at the point of care much more of a reality. Hopefully, with the introduction new technologies, such as the virtual keyboard (, problems in data entry will become a thing of the past.

PRD Modules

Coyote67 @ 11/24/2001 5:23:19 AM #
Just out of sheer interest, are the PDR modules for the visor any good, worth the money? Don't plan on buying them, just curious :)

When you find yourself in the company of a halfling and an ill-tempered Dragon, remember, you do not have to outrun the just have to outrun the halfling.
RE: PRD Modules
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/24/2001 9:54:25 AM #
I assume you mean the Physician's Desk Reference? I don't know about the module itself, but the PDR book is notorious for being out-of-date. I'd suggest ePocrates or Lexidrugs.

RE: PRD Modules
I.M. Anonymous @ 11/25/2001 10:54:57 PM #
Get ePocrates. It's free and updated constantly.



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