The Palmdoc Chronicles

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Happy birthday Palm!

Ten years ago today, on January 28, 1996, Jeff Hawkins & Ed Colligan introduced the first PalmOS handheld - the Palm Pilot - to the world at Demo '96 at the Indian Wells Resort in southern California. (via Palmaddicts)

My first Palm PDA was the PalmPilot Professional. It's now dead (RIP) and has a resting place in cyberspace here. What was your first PDA?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Anesthesia Central

Anesthesia Central -- Mobility for the Gases (cute title!) is a good write-up of Unbound Medicine's Anesthesia Central
Sounds like an excellent PDA resource for Anesthetists.

Friday, January 27, 2006

B.N.F. revisited (part one)

Well, thought I'd mention the venerable B.N.F. (http://bnfDOTorg) again, one of the free comprehensive drug guides available online to healthcare professionals.
I have previously mentioned how to get the B.N.F. in your Palm PDA but the method (using iSiloX) does not work anymore.
The simplest way to get the B.N.F. in your Palm PDA is to access it wirelessly! You could do that if you have a Wifi enabled Palm PDA or via your Smartphone's GPRS.
I tried it out with my Treo650 and can report that the Treo's Blazer browser is compatible with the site and the formatting (using noframes) is OK.

The big advantage about accessing the B.N.F. online is that you can access the Search facility. This is more convenient than "drilling down" the menus.

Testing out a search for "Diflucan"

Search successful! 5 results obtained.

You could also still access the information using the Contents menu and click on the section you want.

Disadvantages? Well you need wireless access. If you are accessing it via GPRS, then it could get expensive unless you have an unlimited data plan. If the B.N.F. could come out with a mobile friendly version, that would help a lot, but somehow I think they won't :P As long as this is not available, then I think some people would still try to find ways to "cache" the B.N.F. for "offline" viewing.
Is this still doable?
Watch out for part two!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Free Medical Books

In case you weren't aware, I thought I'd highlight FreeBooks4Doctors which has a large listing of free medical texts. This is a great resource for doctors and medical students.
I particularly like the eMedicine articles for their comprehensive reviews. You could of course put your PDA to good use and keep useful references in your Palm. My preferred reader is iSilo and iSiloX is the free converter which will convert web pages to iSilo format.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, NEW 28th Edition

Press release:

MARLBOROUGH, MASS. – January 23, 2006 – Skyscape, Inc., the leader in mobile health and medical information solutions, today announced the release of “Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, NEW 28th Edition” formatted specially for PDAs and smart phones.

“Stedman’s Medical Dictionary” offers quick access to thousands of medical terms, drug names, eponyms, procedures and protocols. Thoroughly reviewed and updated, the 28th edition contains more than 107,000 total terms.

“‘Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, NEW 28th Edition' is an essential resource for healthcare practitioners,” said Sandeep Shah, Skyscape founder and CEO. “Skyscape’s intuitive and easy-to-use interface, smARTlink, provides practitioners with instant access to critical information at the point of care. This reference is a powerful decision support tool that helps in reducing errors and enhances the quality of patient care,” said Shah.

The reference is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, and joins Skyscape’s portfolio of more than 300 trusted references in over 35 medical specialties.

Practitioners can purchase the reference or download a free trial version by visiting

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Treo Revival

I have encountered some colleagues who get frustrated with their handhelds. People, like your cars, you gotta perform some maintenance.
One of the Palmdoc Chornicle's hibernating co-bloggers has just experienced a Treo Revival. If you have been experiencing crashes and resets on your device, perhaps it's time to clean out the cupboard. Backup your vital data, sync with the Desktop, doc a hard reset and re-install the 3rd party apps one by one (make sure your Backup directory is moved elsewhere otherwise all (or most of) your old 3rd party software gets synced back in. In the case of the Treo650, Palm has just released the lates 1.20 Firmware update for Unlocked GSM models - this update is terrific and seems to have solved most if not all of the niggling glitches in the Treo650, making it a terrific smartphone!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Free antibiotic guide

Emergency Medicine Doc reminds us that the John Hopkin's Antibiotic guide is available free for PalmOS (no PPC versions I'm afraid WM fans) and via the Web.
Another comprehensive Infectious disease/antibiotic guide for PalmOS and WM is the venerable Sanford Guide.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Wireless isn't the future: it's already with us

Wireless isn't the future: it's already with us, is a new report at e-health

Interesting report, most of it we already know but they have some interesting points!

Google Mobilizer

If you use a handheld or smartphone for web browsing, you may have dealt with pages that just don't render properly, no matter which PDA browser you use. Google Mobilizer - - as reported by, offers another way to view pages.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Lung Doctor 1.0.0

IslandCoders are at it again with Lung Doctor 1.0.0

Lung Doctor is a complete guide to the management of the nine most common lung problems afflicting man today. Discussions concerning the disease description, orders, diagnosis and therapeutics are presented in a most concise and comprehensive manner. Designed for physicians and patients, Lung Doctor acts as a quick reference to patient management. It covers Bronchial Asthma, COPD, Pulmonary Tuberculosis, Pulmonary Embolism, Hemoptysis, Pleural Effusion & Thoracentesis, Anaphylaxis, Pneumothorax and Pneumonia.


PalmPDF has now been released as version 1.0
I have been using it since in beta right up to 1.0 RC2 and can say that it is pretty stable and rendering reasonably fast on my Treo 650.
Just the other day I was asking some Haemonc colleagues if they have been reading their ASH Educational book. They said yes, and relied on the lugging around that book. I then showed them the 21st century way - read the PDFs in your Palm! This way you could be reading your articles anywhere - in the hospital cafetaria or even in the toilet and you don't have to carry heavy books with you.
PalmPDF is a great piece of freeware - worthy of donations to support the author.
This screen shot of one of the ASH Educational articles shows how clear and legible it is


Scrolling around the document is a breeze - either use your Dpad controls or the stylus. Choose a document size (for me its usually 100 - 125%) which suits you (and your eyes) and you are good to go. highly recommended!

MobileDDxT Differential Diagnosis Tool

Press Release:

Skyscape Introduces “MobileDDx™ Differential Diagnosis Tool” for Handheld Devices

MARLBOROUGH, MASS. – January 17, 2006 – Skyscape, Inc., the leader in mobile health and medical information solutions, today announced the release of “MobileDDx™ Differential Diagnosis Tool” formatted specially for PDAs and smart phones.

“MobileDDx™ Differential Diagnosis Tool” enables medical practitioners to explore topics by organ system, symptoms, diseases only, or search across all topics. With over 1,000 medicine and surgery differential diagnoses included, this is the most trusted Current Lange series.

“‘MobileDDx™ Differential Diagnosis Tool’ is ideal for medical practitioners,” said Sandeep Shah, Skyscape founder and CEO. “Skyscape’s intuitive and easy-to-use interface, smARTlink™, provides practitioners with instant access to critical information at the point of care. This reference is a powerful decision support tool that helps in reducing errors and enhances the quality of patient care,” said Shah.

The reference is published by The McGraw Hill Companies, and joins Skyscape’s portfolio of more than 300 trusted references in over 35 medical specialties.

Practitioners can purchase the reference or download a free trial version by visiting

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

MD MELD v1.0

MD MELD v1.0 is a new free app you can download from

This program easily calculates the new standard for liver transplantation-- The MELD score

Health & the Internet for all

Not quite PDA related but the International Journal of Medical Informatics
has a special edition entitled "Health & the Internet for all" There are articles looking at how people search, reliability of searches etc. Useful stuff to arm yourself with to know what your tech savvy patient will ask you in their consultation!

New co-bloggers

You might have noticed the last two posts in The Palmdoc Chronicles are from new co-bloggers.
Welcome aboard David Gurney and Mari Stoddard!
I think having additional bloggers makes any particular blog more interesting since you can have more points of view as well as different posting styles.
For instance, I like Palmaddicts which gives terrific up-to-date Palm related news (though sometimes i fancy the updates are so frequent it's difficult to catch up!) and thats because there are many contributors. So if there are any others who wish to co-blog on The Palmdoc Chronicles, please email me. I think I shall try to awaken the other "sleeping" co-bloggers from hibernation :)

UK RSM Event

Just thought I'd copy a posting from the medicalhandhelds Yahoo group. This is a low traffic high content group. I am hoping to make the event this year, so all you UK side of the pond come up and say Hi!

Hi all,the 2006 Royal Society of Medicine workshop on handheld computers isnow accepting registrations. As usual, there are two tracks, one forbeginners (who are new to handheld computers) and one for those whowant to run their own handheld computer projects. There are 5 CMEpoints for attending one of these tracks, the workshop is held at theRoyal Society of Medicine, and Dr Chris Paton and I are the teachersfor the two tracks.I hope that some of you can make it, and please pass on these detailsto others who might benefit.

Fall 2005 Articles

Briggs B. It's Palm over Windows, within limits. Health Data Manag. 2005 Sep;13(9):62, 64. [PDA, Palm]

Cole E et al. A comparative study of mobile electronic data entry systems for clinical trials data collection. Int J Med Inform. 2005 Dec 27: ePub. [PDA - Pocket PC, Tablet PC, digitizer Tablet/PDA Hybrid (DTP Hybrid), and digital pen (d-pen)]

Degia A et al. Development of a portable psychometric testing device for use in the field: an alcohol investigation. Percept Mot Skills. 2005 Oct;101(2):383-92. [small ruggedised handheld computer]

Gururajan R et al. Challenges for implementing wireless hand-held technology in health care: views from selected Queensland nurses. J Telemed Telecare. 2005;11 Suppl 2:37-8. [handheld]

Kim DK et al. Instant wireless transmission of radiological images using a personal digital assistant phone for emergency teleconsultation. J Telemed Telecare. 2005;11 Suppl 2:58-61. [PDA, phone, Pocket PC]

Moulton S et al. A mobile trauma database with charge capture. J Trauma. 2005 Nov;59(5):1042-7. [PDA, Pocket PC]

Schuerenberg BK. PDA software keeps plugging along. Health Data Manag. 2005 Sep;13(9):66, 68. [PDA]

Monday, January 16, 2006

Welcome back, Kent!

After a very very brief retirement, Kent Willyard aka the Ectopic Brain, is back in business! An email from him says that he will get others to co-blog.
Good idea!
Any PDA enthusiast, especially those in the medical/healthcare profession, who wants to co-blog on The Palmdoc Chronicles is most welcome to send me an email and I'll send you details! I had a few other co-bloggers but looks like they have gone into long term hibernation....

Friday, January 13, 2006

Google homepage, to go

You can now have your own personalized Google home page on your PDA/Smartphone! Great news for mobile docs.

from the Official Google Blog via Digg

Google just created a PERSONALIZED HOMEPAGE for mobile phones just like ( Just go to on your cell phone and hit 'Personalized Home' and get RSS feeds, weather, stock quotes, news and more!

Visit Google Mobile

Synching drug delivery with your Palm handheld

Businessweek reports

Health-device giant Medtronic known for its pioneering pacemakers and insulin pumps for diabetics recently released a device in the U.S. called the Personal Therapy Manager (PTM), a retooled version of a Palm handheld. A first for the market, it's a patient-controlled device with a screen interface that can sync with the company's programmable implanted pumps to deliver medicine, via catheter, to the fluid near the spinal cord -- a process known as intrathecal drug delivery.

via MobileRead, PalmAddicts

Cool stuff but wait, doesn't this:
look like the old Handspring Visor?
Yes indeed it is. So the Visors live on! Apparently it is because Medtronic has the license obtained from Handspring before they were bought over by Palm in 2003 (gee, was that only 3 years ago?) to "modify Handspring PDAs and manufacture, rebrand, and market them as Medtronic PTMs".

Thursday, January 12, 2006


ICUmath has been updated - excellent freeware
picMedical calculator for adult ICU that uses 85 medical equations, including pulmonary, cardiology, BNP CHF nomogram, pharmacokinetic dosing, renal, electrolyte, chemistry, nutrition, TPN, perioperative risk, biostatistics, acls, apache II, unit conversions, rules of thumb, and an RPN calculator with TVM.
Update Description:
- Added a drug buildup program, MDRD eGFR, a/A pO2
- Improved accuracy of CCR when creatinine changes

Adios Kent!

Kent Willyard who maintains the Ectopic brain site has announced his reirement from the medical PDA blogging scene. Over the years Kent has contributed a lot to the medical PDA community and we shall miss his online presence.
Here's wishing you all the best Kent!

Epocrates Collaborates with MGH to Offer Unique Decision Support Tool

Brighthand reports that Epocrates Collaborates with Massachusetts General Hospital to Offer Unique Decision Support Tool
via MedPDAnet

Yes I agree with Leo that the news hasn't even appeared on Epocrates' website yet. It would be a welcome addition to Diagnostic tools available for clinicians like Diagnosaurus which is free. I am mulling over DiagnosisPro but I was put off by the fact that they still have not released a PalmOS version. I'll probably get it anyway since the latter has an offer which bundles the Windows and PPC version in one with free 1 year online access. If I do that will make it 3 apps that I run on my Dell Axim now (the other two being UpToDate and Skype)

PDA's and ADHD

You might be interested to read this post by a user with ADHD in PDA 24/7.
Yes, a PDA may help to some extent in ADHD I agree.
Even if you don't have ADHD, I find a PDA invaluable as an aide memoire!

Mobilizing the Digital Doctor's Office

Palm, GE Healthcare, and PatientKeeper are sponsoring a Webinar (web seminar) to share how today's leading healthcare organizations are benefiting from advanced mobile solutions for physicians.

In a one-hour education session, industry experts will share:

* An in-depth view of GE Healthcare’s latest offering: GE Centricity® PO Mobile™ (Powered by PatientKeeper)
* Customer success stories
* A demonstration of typical physician usage scenarios

To register, click here

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Skyscape press releases

A couple of new Skyscape announcements:

Skyscape Announces Physician-Referral Discount Program for The South Beach Diet™ OnHand
MARLBOROUGH, MASS. – Jan. 10, 2006 –To assist physicians that are trying to help patients with their New Year's resolutions to lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle, Skyscape Inc. has announced a special 20% referral discount program for The South Beach Diet™ OnHand.
The South Beach Diet™ OnHand is a simple-to-use mobile solution that provides instant, anywhere access to exclusive tools, recipes, meal plans, and lifestyle tips via handheld mobile devices such as Palm and Pocket PC-powered handheld computers, PDAs, and smart phones.
Developed by Skyscape, Inc., The South Beach Diet™ OnHand is the perfect mobile complement to the best-selling South Beach Diet™ book series created by Dr. Arthur Agatston, M.D., preventative cardiologist and inventor of the Agatston Score.
With two-thirds of U.S. adults and nearly one-third of children overweight, obesity-related cancer, diabetes and heart disease contributes to over 100,000 deaths a year. According to Peter Vash, M.D., M.P.H., of UCLA's Center for Health Sciences, "The treatment of obesity represents a new category of care. The patient doesn't have pneumonia, so I can't give them penicillin. The patient doesn't have a tumor, so I can't cut it out. But what I have to do is engage the patient in a new kind of dialogue to educate them - encourage them, lead them, and motivate them."
The Skyscape program offers physician-referred patients a special 20% discount off the $19.95 annual subscription for The South Beach Diet™ OnHand. To refer patients, physicians need only access the web page at:

Skyscape Introduces “Oxford Handbook of Respiratory Medicine” for Handheld Devices

MARLBOROUGH, MASS. – January 10, 2006 – Skyscape, Inc., the leader in mobile health and medical information solutions, today announced the release of “Oxford Handbook of Respiratory Medicine” formatted specially for PDAs and smart phones.
“Oxford Handbook of Respiratory Medicine” provides a fast, reliable look-up reference on all chest diseases - for junior doctors, trainee specialists in respiratory medicine, and other health professionals.
“‘Oxford Handbook of Respiratory Medicine’ is ideal for medical practitioners,” said Sandeep Shah, Skyscape founder and CEO. “Skyscape’s intuitive and easy-to-use interface, smARTlink™, provides practitioners with instant access to critical information at the point of care. This reference is a powerful decision support tool that helps in reducing errors and enhances the quality of patient care,” said Shah.
The reference is published by Oxford University Press, and joins Skyscape’s portfolio of more than 300 trusted references in over 35 medical specialties.
Practitioners can purchase the reference or download a free trial version by visiting

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

2005 Medical Weblog Awards

Oooh I've discovered that this blog is in the list of nominees in the medGadget 2005 Medical Weblog Awards in the Medical Technologies/Informatics Category.
No, I'm not asking you to vote for me ;) but this is a good list and I was not aware of some of the other sites!

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Spotted IPDA-II (Initial Psychological Disorder Analysis) v3.0 in

IPDA-II is a versatile instrument for evaluating individuals suspected of having a psychological disorder. It enables mental health professionals to rapidly & easily determine an initial diagnoses of an Axis-I or Axis-II disorders via answering simple guided "Yes"/"No" questions leading to a result. IPDA-II saves and displays client's histories, initial diagnosis, demographics, medications & progress notes all at your finger tips.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Oncowiki upate II

I have registered a new domain for Oncowiki:

That should make it easy for all to remember!

Onco Wiki update

The OncoWiki project continues to develop. I have emailed several people and they all have thought it was a good idea! However the success of the project will depend on actual participants and contributors. On my part I am adding pages a bit at a time - whenever I am free.
Some have expressed concern about litigation - I think an adequate disclaimer should do and the system allows contributors to post using an "ID" which need not be their real names.

I have added a logo to the main page
I have also started a discussion thread in the MMR forums so that users/potential users can provide feedback.

The end product will hopefully be a free comprehensive online resource of oncology/chemotherapy regimens. I will export the data into iSilo ebook format and also Handbase database (once the data is comprehensive enough) so that users can carry the information in their PDAs.

Please help spread the word about the OncoWiki project and feel free to link the logo image in your website.
Does anyone know of any other medical Wiki initiatives?

The whole World in your hands

Via Spinosum in the MMR Forums:
They've Got the Whole World in Their Hands: PDAs in Medicine
is an interesting read.

Some colleagues have expressed concern that overdependence on PDAs will lead to "mental decay". I think not. I think overall, having a PDA will encourage greater use of evidence based medicine, increase the quality of your decision at the bedside or point-of-care and lessen chances of medical errors.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Gadget doctors

Jennifer Chappell writes in Palmaddicts of her experience with Another Palm Doctor:
We were sitting in the waiting area and I had one of my PDAs playing with it, when the nurse came out to get my Mother. The nurse asked if I'd like to go back with my Mother and of course I said that I would. The nurse noticed my PDA and said, "Oh my, you'd better hide that gadget because if Dr. Haggerty sees it, he'll want to play with it and he'll never get around to talking to your Mother." I thought she was kidding but she wasn't! She said that Dr. Haggerty is gadget crazy and he would want to play with my PDA and discuss PDAs, so I had to put my PDA in my gadget bag. After my Mother had talked to him and we were about to leave, I asked Dr. Haggerty what kind of PDAs he has. He said that he has a Treo 650 and a LifeDrive! He said that he likes his Treo but that he's aggravated with the holster he uses because his Treo doesn't fit well in it and wants to fall out. I didn't quite understand that but I told him that he should look into a different case since there are many nice ones out there. He also said that he's not very happy with the memory on the Treo 650 but that the phone does what it's supposed to do and overall, he's happy with the phone. He said that he loves his LifeDrive but that he can't get the WiFi to connect sometimes and that the Bluetooth doesn't work very well. I asked him if he had gotten the updates and he said that he had. I always enjoy hearing about doctors using PDAs! The nurse said that one of the women anesthesiologists is also a gadget freak and that she is always playing with her toys!

Doctors who are gadget freaks. Now that's familiar ;)
As for me, I'm a mainly-one-gadget-at-a-time person. While I have a Dell Axim x50v, I use my Treo650 for most things, especially contact management. The memory may be somewhat lacking but that can be overcome by software such as Powerrun which moves applications and data to the SD card.
The Treo650 is a joy to use and in fact the Treo fever is spreading in my hospital where lately another 3 colleagues have purchased Treo650s after seeing mine and brief demo's on my part.
I look forward to new Treo models in 2006 - but not the Windows powered one. I leave that to corporate purchasing people obsessed with the mantra "Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft". Treo700w reviews are already out, and you might be interested in reading articles like A Marriage Not Made in Heaven, TreoCentral's review, Palm Treo 700W review roundup: Mossberg says it "doesn't beat 650"

So are you a Gadget doctor? What's your new purchase for 2006?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Nursing Reference Titles for PDAs

Press Release:

MARLBOROUGH, MASS. – January 3, 2006 - Skyscape, Inc., the leader in mobile health and medical decision support tools, announced the release of several important new or updated nursing references for PDAs and smart phones.

The announcement of the new titles – the latest in a growing series of trusted nursing reference titles marks Skyscape’s “strong and continuing dedication to support the highly important and high demand nursing practice,” said Sandeep Shah, Skyscape president and CEO.

“Nursing professionals have never been more in demand, challenged with caring for so many, and responsible for so much,” Shah said. “Where the application of mobile technology can help with these challenges, we are striving to make a difference.”

“PDAs are changing the nursing profession in that more efficient and effective care is delivered to the patient,” said Dr. Susan F. Smith, RN, CHES, Austin Community College, Health Professions Institute, Austin, Texas. “Skyscape solutions provide nurses with ready access to medical reference information without leaving the patient’s bedside. The benefits are numerous, including quicker reaction times and improved patient care.”

The new titles, available on Palm OS®, Windows® Mobile and Windows® powered desktop and Tablet PCs, are:

• Lippincott Manual of Nursing Practice. Step-by-step guidelines for more than 100 procedures in all areas of nursing practice and contains many color images. Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins., $39.95

• Lippincott’s Nursing Drug Guide 2006. Updated with more than 800 complete drug entries. Provides instant access to all the drug information nurses need in day-to-day practice. Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins., $44.95

• Nurses' Guide to Clinical Procedures, 5th Edition. This handy guide provides step-by-step instructions for over 200 common nursing procedures. Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins., $38.95

• Nursing Drug Handbook 2006. The best-selling nursing drug handbook for 26 years is now in its fully updated 2006 edition. Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins., $44.95

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The OncoWiki Project

I thought it would be useful to have a place on the WWW to freely access chemotherapy protocols and cancer treatment regimens. I can't find any site at present which is comprehensive enough.
I do carry a small database (in Handbase format) on my Palm for chemotherapy regimens but if we can build a large database, I could also convert this to a PDA format and make it freely available to everyone.
I thought the best way everyone who is interested could contribute is in the form of a Wiki (the most famous example being the online encyclopedia). Thus I created OncoWiki which I hope will become a repository for all known chemotherapy protocols. It is powered by OpenWikiNG which is database driven and has nice Print Previews and even XML feeds.

All oncologists/hemoncologists (practicing, or in training), nurse oncologists are invited to participate in the OncoWiki Project
The edit function for the pages are password protected so if you want to participate, please send me an email, stating your name, position and where you work.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Picsel Proviewer and PalmPDF update

I mentioned that enthusiasts managed to get hacked "unofficial" versions of Picsel Viewer onto their Palms as a native PDF reader. Now you can purchase the original version, Picsel Proviewer. The screenshots look gorgeous and it can read multiple file formats, not only PDF.
It costs US$30. Unfortunately, no evaluation version is available. (via ebernie in PalmX)
If you are looking for a freeware PDF reader, PalmPDF has now been updated to version 1.0 RC1.

Here's wishing a Happy New Year to all of you!