The Palmdoc Chronicles

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Medcalc 4.3
Woohoo. Everyone's favorite freeware medical calculator, Medcalc, by Mathias Tschopp has just been updated.
Update Description:
v4.3 (04/30/03):
- Adds 1 formula (spirometric values)
- Improves infusion management tool (drugs can now be beamed)
- Fixes confusion between BUN and urea in a few formulas
- Improves pregnancy calculator (delivery date can now be changed)
- The usual bug fixes
Pump up with your Palm
There's a new fitness software for the Palm just released in Palmgear called PDAbs 3.4.6. Application description:
-Track your fitness routines: strength/resistance, aerobic/cardio, classes, runs etc.
-Input, archive, view and sort your progress - daily, weekly etc.
-Log your work out on the most common machines, in typical classes or with free weights
-Create new categories of exercises according to your needs and your personal goals
-Enter as many clients as you wish if you are a trainer, keep their profile and routines handy, print their exercises easily to track their progress
-Prepare your workout in advance
-Beam your workout or your client's workout to another PDA

This software does look interesting enough perhaps to get me out of couch-potato mode. However it is buy-ware rather than shareware - a real pity - so there's no way I or anyone else can test it out without purchasing it (unless I get my hands on a review copy!). Only way to gauge it seems to be users' ratings and curiously the range is from 1 star to 5 stars in Palmgear. Seems like users either like it or hate it. It's US$25.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Diet software shootout
Two recently updated software come to mind:

eDiet Manager now in version 3.21. This software is "designed to help users manage their daily nutrition, exercise, and health. It helps to set and achieve fitness and weight loss/gain objectives by providing the tools necessary to track and analyze users' daily records. The application helps you to create your personal diet profile and set your own targets for loosing, gaining and maintaining current weight. For targets created eDiet Manager offers daily nutrition schedule and keeps track of your meals. Dynamic change of schedule, according to the achieved results for each day."

Easy Health is now version 1.5 It's billed as a "Nutritional Organizer for the Palm OS. Count calories, vitamins, minerals, proteins and more with Easy Health. Comes complete with full food database, food log, expanded reference section and suggestions on how to improve your diet. Can be expanded and updated for ease of use. "

Both have been highly rated by users judging by their comments in Palmgear. eDietManager seems to do more than just manage your diet but also keep track of your weight. It's a little more expensive at US$19.95. Easy Health on the other hand is focused as a nutritional organiser and is easy to use. It has "favorites" so you can log these easily. It's also cheaper at US$ 9.95.
I think both have their pros and cons. They are both shareware so you can try before you buy. Both look terrific.
Watch your BMI
Not just another BMI calculator but this freebie also logs it. BMI logger's description:
BMILog is a Body Mass Index logger.
BMILog helps you keep track of your health with regards to your weight.
The Body Mass Index is a number indicating if you are at a healthy weight.
Data entry and readout can be in Cm/Kg or Lbs/feet+inch.
BMILog runs on any Palm OS 3.0 or better device and is free to use.

I think it wil be useful if you really want to keep track of your weight and BMI. Otherwise if you want to occasionally work out your BMI, use Medcalc.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Yet another fitness program
This one is freeware. Cal2cal corp has released FitnessWatch v1.1.0.
This tool lets you calculate:
- Ideal/Recommended Body Weight.
- Calorie Requirement.
- Body Mass Index (BMI).
It also allows you to calculate and plan daily reduction in calories intake for reducing your weight in multiple ways.
All you need to do is just feed your Sex, Height & Weight etc. to get calculated results.
A great tool for use as reference calculator. Works on any Palm OS v3.5 and above handheld device.

There are other fitness programs for the Palm out there. I haven't really checked them out as I am somewhat a couch potato. Perhaps someone can let me know what's the best fitness program for the Palm?

Thursday, April 24, 2003

The Best US Hospitals
Someone with a bit too much time on his/her hands has uploaded a whole bunch of Best ... US Hospitals in various Palm database formats, including Handbase and Jfile, to Memoware. I suppose the info might be useful for patients and caregivers seeking "the best" whatever that is.......
Medcases and Unbound Medicine
Palm Boulevard has this article on Medcases, a medical e-learning company for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, offering the MedCases Medical Librarian. MedCases Medical Librarian will provide users a Web-based interface that integrates with Unbound Medicine's medical literature search services.
"These services provide the user with the ability to search the National Library of Medicine's PubMed database, which includes MEDLINE, and publisher supplied citations. It will also provide users with up-to-date medical literature and can serve as a complement to MedCases' Web-based, medical education programs.
In the future, portions of the MedCases Medical Librarian are slated be delivered to Palm OS and Pocket PC devices via CogniQ, Unbound Medicine's mobile knowledge management platform. "

I thought the interesting bit was about CogniQ. This apparently is "a powerful mobile knowledge management platform that integrates handheld devices with the Web". Linking handheld applications to the web is a great idea especially that more and more wireless devices are coming up such as the recently launched Tungsten-C. We need more hot-spots!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Anticoagulation guides for the Palm
I was looking out for these. Came across some:

Anticoagulation Clinic Datenbanken-1.0
This HanDbase product lets you track coumadin clinic information and allows you to take information with you. Enter data with pop-up fields that include indications and doses. In German which I don't spraken.

Anticoagulation Advisor
The dose selector portion of the ANTICOAGULATION ADVISOR ® is designed to help adjust the weekly dose of warfarin for patients on chronic warfarin therapy. The dose selector adjusts the weekly dose of warfarin based on practical. The dose selector will help determine the percentage of weekly dose changes and whether or not to hold dose(s) of warfarin.
This program is written in CASL which in it's current version does not support OS5. I could not test it out on my TT. I thought it was a bit pricey compared with the slide rule which the same company is selling!

iSilo format Documents
These are free..
Management of Oral Anticoagulation with Warfarin
Pre/Post Invasive Procedure Anticoagulation

Heparin calculator
This shareware program is based on the weight based nomogram for initiating and adjusting IV Heparin dose published in Ann Intern Med 1993; 119:874-881.
Version 2.0 update allows the user to enter the control value for aPTT at his or her institution The nomogram is based on the Fifth ACCP Consensus Conference on Antithrombotic Therapy [CHEST 1998;114(suppl):439S-769S]. BODY WEIGHT-BASED DOSING OF IV HEPARIN
This update also includes the dosing and indication for Lovenox. As a safety feature, the program will also calculate creatinine clearance and warn users if creatinine clearance is < 30 mL/min. The information is based on package insert for Lovenox and Mosby's GenRx 11th edition.

Hmmm. Nothing ideal so far. Am contemplating writing something myself.......

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Anaesthesia Medication Guide
LTC Thomas J. Evans, CRNA, USAF has released Anesthesia Medication Guide 1.0 in iSilo format. This guide is a reference of acceptable adult and pediatric doses of commonly used medications in anesthesia and critical care.
There are lots of medical databases and etext references which you can get from Memoware

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Test your IQ on your Palm
I was wondering what applications exist out there. Not many, but they do exist - I found 4 to be exact.
IQ Test EU 2.0 from GD Prom is shareware.
Application Description:
This version of IQ Test consists of two different tests: Domino and EuroTest. Domino is a series of similar graphical questions that you can have fun solving. Time limit for this test is 8 minutes. This is a giveaway test and is not limited in any way in the Demo version. EuroTest however has a Demo limitation - it doesn't show the result. EuroTest is a standard European intellignence test. It measures IQs from 75 to 174. It consists of 33 questions divided into 5 parts. The time limit for this test is 20 minutes.

Then there is Shlomo Snyder's freeware IQ Test. Gee, I didn't realise I was a shlo-mo myself - my IQ kept testing as "lower than a rock" :(

Steven McDaniel produced High IQ 2.1 which is also freeware.
A game to test your knowledge, the problems are not simple and there are many choices to answer from.
See how smart you are.

And lastly, there's the D*lb*rt IQ-test 2.0

Application Description:
Before you ask your boss to promote you to the management level, be sure you've passed this test. Only the 'happy few' survived it and showed an IQ-level that matches your companies top-level.

I am happy to report with the last one my IQ is sufficently high enough to be promoted to managerial level! Ahhhhh, to be a pointy-haired boss :)

Friday, April 18, 2003

ChemoRxPlus problem
I tried ChemoRxPlus and I regret to report that the installation bombed out my Tungsten T. The stupid thing (maybe the Appforge installation?) kept going in an endless installation loop. Luckily I could do a warm reset without having to doa hard reset as a soft reset failed. This sucks. You have been warned....
The Doctor Database
Spotted The Doctor Database v1.0 in
With this program, you are going to be able to keep an extensive medical database:
- Your doctors'' names and specialities.
- Your doctors'' emergency phones.
- All the clinics and data about them.
- Your doctor appointments, with alarm to remember you.
- Your medicines, what dose and an alarm to remember you.
- All that information divided in tables for easier lookup.
- And the best of all is that it is FREE!

Actually I prefer to keep my contact database in the built-in address book (categorised into referring doctors, patients etc). I am a great fan of Agendus and I think Agendus is a really powerful tool to manage your appointments, contacts and has alarms for meetings and todos so little programs like this would not be of much use to me.
Then again, the author, Rodrigo Marban, is only 15 years old! From the list of software (homepage) he has created this young lad has lots of potential. Keep it up Rodrigo!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Physicians Cut Loose
Palm Boulevard has a very interesting article on Doctors' going wireless in the practice. MDEverywhere is one such company which has this wireless vision. This is soooo cool.
Now I can't wait for my TT to be WiFi capable. SD? Guyver? Wifi case? These are the options which will be available soon. In the meantime for me it'll just be 'net access with my Palm but the work environment at my place is just too primitive, technologically speaking for what MDEverywhere envisages. Not for another 10 years at least :(
Cancer Staging and Treatment
Johnson Chong has recently released an updated version (2.5) of his excellent Cancer Staging and Treatment. This is an iSilo document containing the comprehensive information from Cancernet, National Cancer Institute, National institute of Health.
Some words from Johnson:
"The effort given in creating these file are hope to save clinician's time and provide a convenient way to review clinical information. Hoping all users also can collect and share useful clinical information to the community, encouraging quality clinical practice."
Well, some words from me:
Thank you very very much Johnson!!!
Journal to Go revisited
I used to subscribe to JournalToGo sometime ago - when it was first launched. It is like a medical journal equivalent of Avantgo. The site describes it service as such:
"Healthcare professionals can now easily keep current on medical literature and healthcare news. Selected medical journal abstracts and healthcare news articles are delivered to your handheld device or are accessible from your PC. This service is available at no charge."
Back then I gave up when I realised the abstracts were not updated frequently enough.
I decided recently to "give it a go" (no pun intended) again. I notice the software has been updated and there are more channels and journals now in the list. I was somewhat disappointed that for a major journal like the NEJM, there were only 2 abstracts. The navigation is still a bit kuldgy and I kept getting back to the front page. The TT's Dpad navigation buttons are not supported so one has to tap one's way thru.
Content is so-so. Will stick with it a bit longer to see if the abstracts are really updated weekly as claimed. I might just at the end of the day stick with the Reuters news channel. What the heck, it's free.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Chemotherapy and the Palm

Macromed has released ChemoRxplus which is an update to their old program ChemoRx which was released one year earlier . Being someone who administers chemotherapy (there now, a little clue to what I do), I have tried out ChemoRx when it was first released. I found it a little buggy but it was otherwise a great little freebie. The new one seems to require AppForge so I hope it is not too slow or require much memory. ChemoRxplus is freeware.

What other new Oncology programs are there? There's OncoMD, newly released from Skyscape. Seems like a handy oncology drug reference and there are also a fair number of chemotherapy protocols in the Table of Contents, where you can access the protocol outline. There are nice hyperlinks to relevant references in the literature . OncoMD costs US$65.

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Differential Diagnoses on your Palm
While waiting for DiagnosisPro to be released in PalmOS format, I was scouting around for other DDx solutions. Stumbled upon PDxMD's website which has online Differential Diagnosis. They also have PDA versions both Palm and PPC. The Differential Diagnosis is a "drill down" type interface and selecting a symptom gives you a list of differential diagnoses. The important ones are high-lighted in red and clicking on any of the disorders gives you a brief description. There are also larger optional databases which gives you more detailed information on the disorders. The databases can be stored on SD cards.

This is pretty handy. I thought the authors could take it one step further by allowing one to select multiple symptoms and then narrow down the possible diagnoses from the database according to the symptoms selected. This would be pretty similar to a "slide rule" diagnosis device (the name of which I have forgotten) which I came across some 20 years ago.....

Saturday, April 12, 2003

ICD 10 for HanDbase

Wow. Just what I wanted as I am a HanDbase user. Was hoping for this after Villarta released the MobileDB version (see a couple of postings earlier). Now Kron Emasiri has released ICD10HanDBase v1.0. I like HanDbase for it's ease of use. In version 3.0 you can store databases in your SD card so this will save a lot of precious memory. Kron has also released it in iSilo format, MobileDb format, and ThinkDb format. All freeware....

Friday, April 11, 2003

IMU Students PDA Group
Students from the International Medical University have had a PDA user group for some time now. Their IMU Pda page is chock-a-block with useful news, inforamtion and hint and tips for first time users. The forum section is a little quiet though and I think could do with a little more publicity and participation from the medical student community.I really think the Palm PDA is an essential tool for medical students and am glad that the IMU students' initiative is really taking off. Have added their site to the bookmarks at the left.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

The SARS Hysteria
Hmmmph. Plum Networks has come out with this software called SARS Watch 1.0.
Application Description:
-Keep close watch on potential symptoms of SARS.
-Make notes about your travels and contacts for handy references.
-Make a unique and descriptive note for each user if you need to keep concurrent active watch entries for multiple family members.
-Convenient online information about SARS.

PlumNetworks is charging US$ 1.99 for this lemon! I really think such software unnecessarily feeds on people's anxiety. I also seriously doubt the usefulness of such software other than be a lame tool to educate the lay public on the symptoms. I think one can get much more useful information from the CDC SARS site.
Dial 911 for SARS Help
Skyscape has released for free .911 which is a resource that incorporates content from Outlines in Clinical Medicine/Medical Emergencies and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to provide medical professionals with the latest information on SARS and other potentially rapidly-spreading diseases, including bio-terrorism agents.

.911 includes all CDC-SARS health alerts, recommended responses, and an FAQ about SARS. The product also includes the latest information on signs and symptoms, treatments, as well as specific recommendations for prevention and control and will be updated frequently via Skyscape's smARTupdate (auto-update) routine to include all the constantly changing SARS information.

Other topics medical professionals can reference via .911 include information on bio-terrorist agents including Anthrax and Smallpox. This can serve as a reference for diagnosis to treatments to available vaccines, and provides doctors, nurses, EMTs and other medical professionals information on these new threats on via their handheld computers at the point of care.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

DiagnosisPro for PalmOS
I mentioned on 10 March that the authors of DiagnosisPro hoped to release a PalmOS version by the end of March. Currently it is only for Windows and PPCs. Unfortunately it looks like the release will be delayed.
I really look forward to running that on my Tungsten T.

I am still waiting for the day I could do this with my Palm:

R L Villarta has released ICD 10 in MobileDB format. That's cool. In practice, usually I navigate to the disease in Skyscape's 5MCC and then scroll down to the misc section which has the ICD code (insurance companies here still request ICD 9) . Works for me most of the time. A quick search in Memoware shows there are lots of ICD9s in other formats but only one other ICD 10 in German.

I am aware of other ICD apps around. Which would you recommend?

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

SARS and all that
What's worse than living in the hotspot? Working in the hotspot and exposed to it, that's what! It would be worse if I were an ID chap. With sadness I read in Dobbs of a young medical officer in Singapore who contracted SARS and died. His mother is a GP in Johor who also contracted it. This is a tragedy.

I have been arming myself with info from the Web - and have been constantly referring to the CDC's Sars Info page. I have tried getting this page as a custom channel in Avantgo and I can tell you the formatting is not pretty. Ectopic Brain has pointed out (thanks Ectopic!) the free SARS for Physicians by Stephen Lapinsky, which is in iSilo format. The latest update is 4 April 2003.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Medical Mnemonics Revisited
from Greek mnemon or mindful; (pronounced neh-MAHN-ik) is a word, abbreviation, rhyme, or similar verbal device you learn or create in order to remember something

Ahhhh to be a medical student again. Just yesterday, my wife's niece who is a medical student asked about a mnemonic for the cranial nerves. We vaguely recalled something about On Old Olympus.... Had to Google for it and was taken to, a very cool site which I think will be extremely useful for medical students. This site has an amazing colleciton of mnemonics from many contributors. You can search by system and also part of the body (and also "G-rating"!).

Best of all there is a free downloadable PalmOS version of Medical Mnemonics. There are two sizes of databases for the application. An unabridged version, which contains the entire website, and a smaller abridged version for those with more limited space on their PDA. There are also Update Packs which are built using the new/updated mnemonics that people have shared by PDA and through the website. Update Packs are synced onto the PDA, which appends the new mnemonics to your existing customized database. A beam feature has also been written in, allowing beaming of a mnemonic entry to someone else nearby. If you don't want to install the program on your PDA, or if you are unfortunately a PPC owner, you could opt to get Medical Mnemonics as an Avantgo channel as well.

All in all, highly recommended.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Text entry systems
Always in a hurry? I seem to be rushed and it's not always that I have the PPK with me. Graffiti is a tad slow - maybe Graffiti II may be an improvement but in the meantime you might consider using Textplus or Wordcomplete. Both these programs anticipate what you write and will speed up text entry by showing you a pop-up list of words or phrases which by tapping on your choice, will speed up your text entry.
I personally prefer Textplus as it is very intuitive and best of all, has a specific Medical database which you can use in place of the general one. With Textplus anywhere, it will work in any of your applications which has text input using Graffiti. There doesn't seem to be any problems using it with the Tungsten T with Graffiti Anywhere installed.

Saturday, April 05, 2003

PDA as a communication aid II
Riccardo Magni, the author of Communica, has emailed to inform me that his software will be developed further to include a "tree structure" organisation for the icons , and also a Windows program for the bitmap images. This all sounds good but it will be a commercial version (I guess it was too much to hope for it to remain free). They also will incorporate an interface to allow input from push button devices for the severely motor-impaired.
Their web page has a bit more information on Technological Aids for the Palm.
Interestingly there is another software listed there called Scrivo!
Alphabetic communication system based on PalmTM platform, it presents a virtual keyboard on the screen to compose words and phrases. The system can scan the keyboard (rows and colums) or (alternatively) allow a "direct selection" of symbols through the palm touch screen; the phrases composed will shift on the screen each time a special "bell" icon is selected (an audio signal is also produced). The scan speed is selectable independently for rows and columns and the scanning could be signaled by an audio tick. All the composed messages (day by day) can be memorised as "memo" for a next analysis (type of utilisation, psycology...): the text could be imported on a PC through the normal sync function.
A purposely developed interface permits to interface external sensors (like pushbuttons) to the palm system, allowing the utilisation of the system even by part of persons with severe motor impairment.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

Software for the hypochondriac
I am amazed what developers will think of next.
This Palm program, Health Monitor 1.0, is a specialised symptom recorder.
Application Description:
Find out which activity could be responsible for your health symptom.Shows average severity by symptom.Records symptom name, date, time, activity, severity, and any notes you may have.Includes 2 free utilities which allow you to transfer to/from your PC and the other which lets you view or print the data on your PC.

I really don't know how useful such an application would be except for the hypochondriac!! If you want to record items with a datestamp and later export it or print it out, I think a generic journaling application like Daynotez would be better.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

PDA as a communication aid

I have always thought that a PDA would make a wonderful aid for those with speech disabilities. The ones I know of tend to be expensive customised portable devices. There is one for WinCE called Winspeak but according to the authors, it's only for particular WinCE models and not for all PocketPCs at the moment.

I noticed this free Palm program called Communica which purports to aid communication using Icons on the Palm (no speech output). This seems to be a brilliantly simple concept and I wonder why no one else has implemented this before.
This program has been developed to explain the great chance that a useful PDA have to help people with reduced speech ability.
The program has been developed in PocketC and requires PocketC runtime (included in this zip).
The program acts as an iconic communicator system allowing to a person to transmit (by pressing the screen area) a concept or a feeling.

The icons are stored as "bitmaps" in Memopad. At the moment they are only in B&W. The interface is too simplistic. I prefer a menu driven type interface perhaps grouped by "themes" eg food, drink, emotions etc. But the program appears to be promising and hope the author can improve on it.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

ObGyn programs
Not forgetting the ObGyn folks. OB Suite v5.2 is an updated freebie.
OB Suite includes a standard OB wheel, also calculates dates from US data.
Allows the practitioner to calculate when a patient will reach a certain geatational age, tracks OB patients, tracks inpatients, tracks procedures, and calculates Bishop score.

Update Description:
Several people have asked for security features to meet HIPPA regulations, since OB Patients holds patient information.

Version 5.2 Adds an optional security screen that the user can enable to pop up at start-up. The screen asks for a 5 digit security code prior to seeing patient data.

Pediatric programs
Pediatricians would be another group of doctors who would find a Palm useful since they often need to perform calculations and use formulaes in their work.
Spotted Peds Omnibus v2.0 in
Calculates oral medication doses, IV medication doses, pediatric daily values (UOP in cc/kgday etc.), NICU daily values, tracks patients, has developmental mile stones, growth charts, and immunization schedules.

I downloaded and had a look at it. The interface looks to be a bit confusing to me (maybe not to a pediatrician!). The medication list looks very limited and you are better off using a proper drug database like ePocrates or Skyscape's A2Zdrugs. Growth charts are tables and don't seem to depend on the figures you input for individual patients. I didn't like it but you may give it a test ride. After all it's free.

For growth charts, you might want to consider the free Growth Charts from Statcoder.
I carry this in my Palm and find it very useful.
This program calculates growth percentiles based on the June 2000 revision of the CDC Growth Charts for the United States. It includes new body mass index-for-age charts. Enter the age in years and months using the pop-up lists. The weight, height, and head circumference can be entered in using graffiti. Be sure to select the correct metric or English units. Select the correct sex and indicate whether height is standing if applicable. If head circumference is included, HC-Age percentile is presented. If no head circumference is input (non-infants), BMI-Age percentile is included if applicable. Press the Calc button to perform the calculations.