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Title Personal Digital Educators
Author(s) Cimino, James J.; Bakken, Suzanne.
Source NEJM, Vol. 352, No. 9, Pages 860-862
Publication Date March 3, 2005
Abstract "What's his infection sensitive to?" In 1995, getting the answer to this question required a house officer to find an unoccupied computer at the nursing station, sign on, and traverse the necessary screens to get the culture result. Armed with the answer - say, "levofloxacin" - she would ask the follow-up question: "What's the renal dosing?" The next step would typically entail a search for a tattered copy of a drug reference manual. In 2000, the house officer still needed to turn to the computer for the first answer, but for the second, she might have skipped the scavenger hunt and pulled out her personal digital assistant (PDA). A few quick taps and scribbles, and she had her answer. Rapid access to prescribing information probably represents the single most visible and widespread effect of PDAs on health care today. In 2003, a survey of just one popular PDA-based drug reference found that 25 percent of U.S. physicians were using it in their practice, [1] and another survey found that when physicians had a question about antibiotics and could not get an answer from a colleague, they turned to PDA-based resources 50 percent of the time. [2] These trends promise to continue as students and professionals in the fields of social work, nursing, and medicine struggle to get the accurate, current patient information and medical knowledge they need to make informed decisions.

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