The Palmdoc Chronicles

Saturday, February 25, 2006

A couple more new Skyscape releases

Handbook on Injectable Drugs, 13th Ed
Written by Lawrence A. Trissel, ASHP's Handbook on Injectable Drugs is a dynamic new mobile tool that makes it quick and easy to check on the compatibility of drugs. Once you enter the selected drugs, clear compatibility and stability results are displayed so you can quickly take clinical action based on this comprehensive and trusted guide that that has long been a must-have resource for health care professionals. Over 2,400 reference citations reveal the evidence base for each decision. No other drug reference examines drug stability and compatibility in such extensive detail.

Oxford Handbook of Critical Care, 2nd Ed.
Of all the medical specialties, few if any are as exacting and complex as critical care medicine. All members of the multidisciplinary team caring for critically ill patients require a sound knowledge of physiology, pathophysiology, biochemistry, technology and pharmacology.
The new edition of this enormously popular Oxford Handbook describes best practice in critical care in a succinct, concise, clinically orientated way. It covers therapeutic and monitoring devices, drugs and fluids, specific organ system disorders and complications, and general management philosophies. Ample space is provided to append or amend sections to suit local protocols and particular practices.
The Oxford Handbook of Critical Care will serve the consultant, junior doctor, nurse or other paramedical staff as a reference book, aide memoire and handy pocket book providing rationales and solutions to most of the problems encountered.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Cornwall NHS staff get VoIP phone badges

Cornwall NHS staff get VoIP phone badges
Health-Insider — Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust has issued its staff with voice-activated handsfree 'badges', worn around the neck on a lanyard, which can put any user in touch with another member of staff just by saying their name or department into a microphone.

Just thought I'd post this:-) novel update to the bleep system!


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Emergency Medicine Manual

Skyscape has released Emergency Medicine Manual 6th Ed. 8.0.8 in Palmgear.

picThe best-selling pocket reference in emergency medicine! Condenses the essential clinical content from the premier text Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. Charts, tables, and outlines summarize key information for diagnosis and treatment of all conditions encountered in the Emergency Department. Ideal for students or interns rotating through the Emergency Department, who may be unfamiliar with the vast array of problems and presentations seen on a daily bases in a busy ED. Emergency Medicine residents will also find this reference ideal for its detailed and up-to-date information.

PDA software - patients' perspective

Whilst we PDA toting doctors are always on the lookout for software for doctors, we should also think of our patients. I do sometimes encounter patients who are PDA users or even PDA enthusiasts and it may help (and indeed sometimes provide interesting clinic conversation) if we point them towards software which might be useful in the management of their illnesses.
Spotted this freebie Blood Pressure Watch which is a fully featured database that will keep track of blood pressure, weight, pulse, medications, medical appointments, and more. You can input various medications you are taking, set reminders for taking pills and appointments etc.
One software I recommend (and in fact have beamed over) to patients is OnTimeRx which is a great tool to help remind patients take their medications, manage their supplies and doctors appointments. It has recently been updated and the company has a special OnTimeRx Healthcare Provider Program
So have you recommended any software to your patients lately?
I actually had feedback from a patient with NHL who found out about Haemoncrules and recommended it to his hematologist!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Medical Student’s PDA Reference

Good news for medical students. USBMIS is having a sale on their Medical Student’s PDA Reference and for a limited time, you can get 25% off.
Medical Student’s PDA Reference is designed for all medical students, interns, and other trainees and physicians working on clinical services. The content includes:
* High-yield format for easy comprehension.
* Concise discussions of 3000 diseases within all body systems.
* Indications, classification, adverse reactions and mechanisms for approximately 700 pharmacologic agents.
* Information on cytokines, hormones, autocoids, neurotransmitters, toxicology, vitamins, and nutrition.
* Interlinked content and a comprehensive index make finding information quick and easy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

PalmPDF v1.1

PalmPDF has been updated again.
Version 1.1 has bugfixes and some new features.
No need to convert native PDFs (like Journal articles) - just place the PDF in your SD card and use this great freebie to read it!

Normal Values in Radiology v1.0

Normal Values in Radiology v1.0 has been released in Freeware.palm

Normal Values in Radiology is a free reference using iSilo that lists commonly (and not so commonly) encountered values in radiology which can be used as a guideline when interpreting radiographic studies.
Also included are commments about certain values and diseases associated with them.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Some new Skyscape titles

Little Black Book of Primary Care, 5th Ed.
"The Little Black Book, now updated for 2006, is intended as a very portable manual with heavily referenced, concise, practical, clinically relevant information. It contains usual clinical approaches, personal "pearls", as well as and most importantly, literature-debated issues. Over 6000 very specific references for virtually every aspect of clinical primary care make the reference unique among similar medical manuals. Disease processes about which there is little current controversy, or new information are treated briefly. "

The Rehabilitation Specialist's Handbook
"This is the book that your students will need as they transition to clinical practice, that practicing PTs will need as they pursue a transitional DPT, and that rehabilitation specialists will need to refresh their clinical knowledge. Every member of the rehabilitation team can put this handbook to immediate use for its wealth of current clinical information. The utility of this information-packed handbook gains relevance with therapists' growing experience in the field. "

Pocket Reference for ALS Providers

"Pocket Reference for ALS (Advanced Life Support) Providers is an indispensable resource for Paramedics and EMS responders. This massively updated, handy field reference is written specifically for Paramedics and offers the most up-to-date information essential to paramedic care."

Smart Phones Finding Voice in Health Care

Smart Phones Finding Voice in Health Care is a good read from HealthDataManagement.
"It's awesome to carry only one device," says Diamond, also a clinical assistant professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle. "When I was using a cell phone and PDA, I sometimes wouldn't have both devices with me, so I either couldn't make calls or get the information I needed."

Well I must say I fully agree with Dr. Diamond. I now really relish the convergence path. In fact I have gone further and my Treo650 is like 2 phones in one as I use a multiSim card which can store more than one phone number. Switching between the two phones is a breeze using the special multiSim card's Sim services menu. No need to switch the phone off and on again like the older multiSim cards.
Why bother with more than one number you might ask? If you value privacy, you might want to give out a special number for patients only like I do and tell them it is for non-urgent SMS messages only. This way I am on my primary line for hospital calls and I periodically switch to the other line to check the SMS messages.
Ahh the wonders of modern technology!!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Avantgo and Sunrise updates

For those of you who depend on your PDA to catch up on your favorite news and websites (medical and non-medical), here are some updates:
First up is that Avantgo 6 is coming. It is now in beta and Palm Insider has the news
If you are a Sunrise/Plucker user, you'll be pleased to note that SunriseXP (the Windows version which does not require Java) is now out of alpha and is now also in beta. Check out the Sunrise XP change log. I think it's coming along nicely.
I rely a lot on my PDA for general medical news from sites like Biomed Central, Medscape, Reuters, BMJ and so on. Its great to be able to browse and read all these while waiting in line at the hospital cafetaria!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Peering into the Palm crystal ball

My Treo650 experience has been great. It is a terrific little smartphone and the feature set is just about right for now. It is perhaps lacking in a couple of areas, particularly the lack of Ram, and the lack of Wifi (The bad news I hear is that Palm is reneging on their promise to release Wifi drivers for the Treo650 so Wifi users are stuck with the Enfora sled as their only option for now, that is unless the mighty Shadowmite can perfect his hacked Wifi driver). Palm OS 5.x (Garnet) is getting real long in the tooth and we badly need an OS upgrade.
So I look towards future Palm models and what do I see? First up we have pretty solid rumours of one of the three Palm powered Treo models to be released sometime this year. The rumoured 700p has more memory, and importantly has a large dbcache which improves performance, 3G (EvDO for CDMA) and not suprisingly still runs on Garnet. There is however still no mention of Wifi drivers in this model. I'll probably pass on this as an upgrade and perhaps wait for the rumoured "Hollywood" model which is supposedly targetted towards the European/3G market. If it does have 3G support, no external antenna, and Wifi, then I would be tempted to upgrade even if it still runs on Garnet.
The latest news about the future of POS is that some details of the future Palm on Linux have been made known as ACCESS and PalmSource Announce the ACCESS Linux Platform. As th SDK will be released only at the end of the year, we won't realistically see any new models for another year or two - earliest perhaps 2007? The 6 million dollar question for me is will Palm use this OS in future Treo models or will they continue to hack Garnet to death and also keep on going with Windows Mobile? If that is the case, PalmOS fans may have to look towards other smartphone manufacturers. You may have heard of GSPDA, an Asian company which also makes Palm powered smartphones. Perhaps the likes of GSPDA or other companies will take up the challenge and produce Palm Linux powered smartphones in the future if Palm does not use this OS in future Treos. We'll have to wait and see how things unfold in the next couple of years.
In the meantime, I have decided to familiarise myself with Linux and installed Ubuntu Linux in two of my machines (one of my home Desktops and my NEC notebook). It has been interesting and Ubuntu is really a great distro for Linux newbies like me. I have got my Treo 650 syncing with the Ubuntu Desktop and contacts etc can sync well. It's great that everything is Opensource and free. Amazing.
It looks like if Linux is the road PalmOS will take, then the future is bright. But the path is a challenging one and I wish Access and Palmsource all the best!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Palm is the best in Medicine


Yes we know Palm is the best in Medicine, and Palminsider has the story on Palm and Microsoft selling the Treo700w together with the award winning Patientkeeper suite as an ideal hospital solution which will allow "physicians to access their patients' electronic records, write prescriptions, enter charges, dictate notes, document encounters, place orders or send security-enhanced messages to other caregivers -- all in a single integrated environment".
Sounds wonderful but do note of course its not only the 700w which can do this but also the Treo650 and other Palm PDAs thank you.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Winners of the 2006 MS-HUG Annual Awards

MedicalPocketPC has a feature on the Microsoft Healthcare Users Group and Microsoft Announcing Winners of 2006 MS-HUG Annual Awards. As you would expect, the winners are applications with run on Microsoft's OS and no mention of PalmOS or Opensource solutions. I note though that some of the winners also run on PalmOS e.g. Epocrates and Allscripts but thats not mentioned in the article (naturally cos it's a PocketPC site).
So if anyone who attended HIMSS 2006, can you tell me it Palm and OSS featured prominently or was it a Microsoft dominated affair?
You might be interested to know that the HISS website has a Handheld Healthcare section and for those of you deciding what handheld to buy, there's a Handheld Buyers Guide with useful links.

What's my bias? PalmOS of course. I have a Treo650 (and a T5 which is currently used by the better half and T3 in hibernation) and a Dell Axim x50v. The Treo650 is the one which I use everyday and most of the time. I occasionally use the Dell for some applications but I find Windows Mobile clunky and slow in comparison to PalmOS. The Treo is a joy to use - speedy, efficient and very user-friendly. I have seen WM powered smartphones like the Dopod. Still not there, in my opinion.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

5MCC review

Darius Wey from PockPCThoughts has written a review of Unbound Medicine's 5MCC with Diagnosaurus
I think it will be pretty similar for the Palm version so the review should apply to Palm users as well.
Apparently one of the comments states that "If you download and register the FREE Diagnosaurus, the e-mail confirmation will include a 20% discount offer for 5MCC and other titles"

Some updates in Palmgear

PacificPrimaryCare have updated The Clinical Medicine Consult 2007 v1:
Indexed and enhanced with hyperlinks to over 12,000 terms, medicines and conditions for fast navigation. Contains over 2,450 clinical (medical-surgical) topics for rapid reference along with specific drug doses and essential treatment pearls.
This is a complete medical textbook that is rapidly accessible via cross references and packed with clinically relevant information.
This text includes all the current Clinical Medical Series titles:
Clinical Endocrinology, Neurology, Orthopedics, Nephrology, Dermatology, Gastroenterology, ENT, Psychiatry, Urology, Infectious Disease, Women's Health, Hematology/ Oncology, Geriatrics-Death & Dying, Rheumatology, Pulmonology, Allergy, Pediatrics, Critical Care, Trauma & Tox, Ethics-Alternative Medicine-Evidence Based Medicine-Communication, Cardiology, Wound Care, Travel Medicine, Procedures and Ophthalmology. **>200 line drawing illustrations.

Bluefish has also updated BluefishRx Charge Capture 6.70:
BluefishRx Charge Capture provides a measurable return on investment, recapturing lost revenue and significantly reducing rejected claims. With BluefishRx Charge Capture, the billing process is greatly simplified where it starts -- at the patient encounter. Studies have shown that the majority of physicians undercharge or don't bill a substantial number of revenue opportunities. When the charge is prepared at a later date, encounter information is often forgotten. BluefishRx makes the preparation and submission of charges to your biller quick and easy.
In a matter of seconds, physicians can generate and print or securely email a complete charge slip ready for entry into the billing system or the HCFA 1500 form. If the charge is sent via our secure emil system the entire process can be automated with the charges directly entired into the billing system. Alternatively charges can be created and saved for batch printing when the physician returns to the office. In either case, the time lag between the patient encounter and submission of the claim can be greatly reduced.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

LifeDrive flop?

My pal Bernie in his blog comments on the Lifedrive being less of a stellar success than Palm had hoped - in fact would you consider it a flop?
One would have thought it had features abound - tons of storage, dual wireless, etc. But did it try to do too much or did it not do enough in every aspect of what it tried to do? Michael Mace called it a eierlegende Wollmilchsau (cute German phrase meaning "egg-laying woolly milk pig" - a term for a product that fails because it tries to be everything to everyone)

I am reminded of a colleague (an oncologist) who is one of the few doctors I know who purchased a Lifedrive. She doesn't use it much as she keeps it mostly in her bag. Why? It's too bulky to be carried! I think that's one very important lesson. If you don't keep your PDA with you, then it's not likely that you'll be using it as often as you should. It's also pricey. OK it has a 4 GB drive but SD cards are much more affordable nowadays and the prices are still tumbling. You are better off getting a TX and add a the SD card: you get similar functionality in a smaller form factor.

My suggestion to Palm: if you want to revive the Lifedrive, then put in a decent drive like 30 GB ala the iPod. Put in a camera (at least 3 MP) and you have a truly all singing and all dancing PDA which can play movies, music, take pictures and video, builtin Wifi for streaming video and audio and all the other great Palm PDA functions. This would certainly pique my interest.

Btw, I added Bernie's ramblings to my Palm blogroll. Keep it up mate!

PEPID First to Launch Mobile Wireless Medical Decision-Support

Press release:

Industry pioneer also announces integration-ready clinical content delivery services at HIMSS’06.

San Diego, California, February 12, 2006 - PEPID LLC - the world’s leading developer of medical information and support tools - announced today that it is launching two major initiatives at the 2006 Annual Conference and Exposition of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMMS’06) which starts tomorrow at the San Diego Convention Center.

PEPID was the first to deliver fully-integrated medical and drug information to physicians and nurses on handheld devices and desktop computers. Now the Chicago-based firm is also the first to release its products for any wireless device, including mobile handhelds. The breakthrough puts PEPID clearly ahead of direct competitors, like ePocrates and Skyscape, in information technology and delivery.

“PEPID™ Wireless service is part of our continuing effort to make sure every healthcare professional and student has the comprehensive resources they need, everywhere they go,” says PEPID President John Wagner. “Our new wireless capabilities cover both Palm and Windows operating systems. Whether a practitioner owns a Palm OS device like Treo 650…or a Treo 700 with a pocket browser, he or she will find PEPID the most mobile resource available.”

PEPID™ Wireless simply requires an Internet Explorer (or equivalent) or a Blazer 4.0 (or higher) browser. So virtually anyone using a wireless device—including laptops, mobile carts and handhelds--can connect to PEPID.

This week at HIMSS’06, the firm is also introducing PEPID™ INTEGRATOR Solutions that allow developers to easily and quickly integrate PEPID clinical content into existing or developing medical information systems. “With our Web Services, Wireless Mobile, Internet Online, Intranet Online and PDA Platform integrators, we have the perfect knowledge-based solution for any organization,” adds Wagner.

To learn more, visit Booth 3519 at HIMMS’06 and

Friday, February 10, 2006

A new medical search engine and more...

Jason emailed to inform me of a free new medical search engine: OmniMedicalSearch. This one appears to search thru multiple sites including PubMed, eMedicine, CDC, and others.
I haven't evaluated it much yet nor compared it to Google Scholar but you might want to give it a spin.
I think search engines are getting more important in our daily work and with wireless enabled PDAs/Smartphones, it is easy to do so from anywhere. I like Google Mobile Search and the PubMed Mobile projects (check out MD on Tap and PubMed for Handhelds).
Whatever it is, learn to use the search engines efficiently and intelligently. Speaking of which, I came across this funny cartoon in my daily comic feed:


Doctors need their daily fill of humor too and here's a tip. You can get a great collection of daily cartoons in your PDA from MobileRead's link. Use iSiloX/iSilo or SunriseXP/Plucker to pull the feeds into your PDA.

Infectious Disease Doctor

Islandcoders Inc. has released Infectious Disease Doctor in Palmgear.
Application Description:
Infectious Disease Doctor is a complete guide to the management of the twenty one most common infection 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, Infectious Disease Doctor acts as a quick reference to patient management. It covers Acute Tonsillopharyngitis, Cellulitis, Chickenpox & Shingles, Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, Diverticulitis, Infective Endocarditis, Leptospirosis, Lower Urinary Tract Infection, Malaria, Meningitis & Encephalitis, Mumps, Osteomyelitis, Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases, Peritonitis, Pneumonia, Pyelonephritis, Schistosomiasis, Sepsis & Septic Shock, Systemic Viral Infection, Tetanus and Typhoid & Paratyphoid Fever.

Shareware $10.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

In praise of handheld translators

I previously mentioned a special medical translator software called Apardi for your PDA. It doesn't include Asian languages and if for instance you are confronted with a Chinese speaking patient, it might be handy to have software which can do this for you. No, the "Star Trek" Universal tranlsator is not quite upon us yet but for English-Chinese translation the H&H English-Chinese Talking Dictionary is pretty amazing. There are quite a number of medical terms in that dictionary:

So can you say "autoimmunity" in Mandarin? ;)

H&H E-C dictionary is for the PPC platform. I have to admit, the speech is very clear and it sounds pretty natural. The closest Palm equivalent that I am aware of is the Yinhan "talking" dictionary which I also purchased sometime ago but the clarity of speech is not as good as H&H's.

New StyleTap version supports Palm Treo 700w

For those new owners of the Palm Treo 700w which runs on Windows Mobile 5, the good news is you can run Palm PDA applications with Styletap which now supports the 700w
Read more in PIC
There are lots of great medical apps for PalmOS which are not found on the WM5 platform so Styletap will be a boon for WM5 users. Some notable examples are Medcalc and the Statcoder applications.
I would be curious to see how well these apps run on 240x240 though - appreciate any feedback from 700w users.

Dr. Companion releases B.N.F. and other apps

(via Ectopic Brain) Dr. Companion has a slew of PDA apps which should interest UK and UK trained doctors:

Titles include:
BNF (yes, so it's no longer "hypothetical")
Medicines Compendium
Cochrane abstracts (but you already know how to get these on your PDA for free)
Clinical Evidence (from BMJ Publishing Group)
Oxford Handbooks
ICD 10
and lots more...

yes, jolly good show too, I must add ;)

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Epocrates Announces Free Integration with EMR and Other Healthcare IT Developers

Press release:

San Mateo, Calif., February 8, 2006 - Epocrates announced today that its widely adopted mobile and web-based clinical applications can now be linked to products developed by healthcare information system (HIS) partners. The Epocrates Linx™ Partner Program enables developers of mobile and desktop health information solutions, such as electronic medical records (EMRs) and ePrescribing applications, to integrate their systems and data with Epocrates solutions.

"With national and local initiatives underway to encourage adoption of EMRs and other healthcare information technologies, this announcement could not come at a better time," said John Halamka, MD, CIO of Harvard Medical School. "The ability to integrate Epocrates trusted products with new applications will help clinicians become more comfortable and open to incorporating more technology into their daily practice."

The incorporation of Epocrates solutions with EMRs and other HIS technologies promises to assist physicians in providing better patient care. In a recent survey of Epocrates customers, more than 75 percent of physicians reported they are more likely to use an EMR system if it is coupled with Epocrates' clinical applications. In addition, more than 90 percent believe they can make more informed and confident decisions with the integrated solution.

Epocrates currently partners with multiple healthcare IT developers of hospital-based, ambulatory care and multi-environment solutions. Epocrates' collaboration with partners such as, Allscripts, DrFirst, InstantDx, MercuryMD, PatientKeeper and SOAPware, increases interoperability among technologies and offers clinicians one convenient location for patient and clinical information via mobile devices or Internet connection.

"Since its inception, Epocrates has been the leading developer of clinical reference solutions proving that clinicians will enthusiastically embrace technology that assists in the improvement of patient safety and care on a daily basis. By working with Epocrates, we have found that our systems are becoming more valuable and viable during physician-patient interactions," said Randall Oates, MD, President, SOAPware, Inc.

Epocrates Linx allows HIS vendors to download the Epocrates application program interface (API) to create a customized user interface within their system. Vendors have the ability to embed hyperlinks within their HIS systems that will lead users directly to the relevant information in Epocrates' reference applications, increasing efficiency and convenience for clinicians. This seamless integration allows clinicians to move from one application to another, allowing them to review a patient record and then immediately access Epocrates' clinical information, including dosing, drug interactions, pricing, health plan coverage, and more.

"The marriage of our popular applications and our partners' real-time patient data enables clinicians to access critical information - from potential drug side effects to patient vaccination history - seamlessly and instantaneously," said Kirk Loevner, chairman and chief executive officer for Epocrates. "By working with current and future partners to connect our applications, we are supporting the needs of our customers and helping improve care for their patients."

Epocrates mobile and Internet-based products, including Epocrates Rx® and Epocrates® Online free drug and formulary applications, are used by more than 500,000 healthcare professionals. To learn more about the Epocrates and the Linx Partner Program, visit

Just The Facts In Emergency Medicine

USBMIS is having a special offer on Just The Facts In Emergency Medicine

Just The Facts In Emergency Medicine, PDA Edition is the perfect tool to prepare for in-service or licensing exams, for recertification, or for use as a clinical refresher.
Features include:
* Effectively condenses Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine, 5, for a concise, yet comprehensive review.
* Standardized, bulleted format stresses key points of epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical features, diagnosis and differential, and ED care and disposition.
* At-a-glance use of prioritized and numbered treatments, quick-reference tables, and key figures assure quick absorption of the material.
* Includes special sections that review the various written exams and provide test-taking tips and strategies.
* Provides state-of-the art information on antiplatelet agents, pain management, stroke management, new treatments for viral disorders, and more.

The special offer valid till Feb 12th is a $10 discount off the regular price

eMedicine series in your Palm

I mentioned in Free Medical Books a great online resource for obtaining free medical texts and information.
I particularly like the eMedicine series which have well written reviews. The eMedicine terms of use allows you to download articles to your PDA for your personal use.
Just surf over to the eMedicine TOC and select the topic of your choice. In my case I selected eMedicine Hematology

My preferred reader is iSilo so I'll use this an example.
You can use iSiloX to fetch the links (set it to link depth 1 and restrict it to the domain) .
The end product is quite readable on the Palm but I had to set iSilo to "no tables" to avoid having to scroll left and right when reading the articles.
Here is a composite view of several screenshots:


Another popular reader is Plucker. This one is free and works just as well as iSilo. If you want an application to fetch the pages and convert it to Plucker format, I would recommend you use Sunrise XP which is also freeware.

Happy reading! Any other favorite medical ebooks sites to share?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Convergence - the way forward?

I mean convergence as far as PDA Medical software is concerned. As for PDA hardware, we are already seeing convergence in PDAphones or smartphones being more popular than pure PDAs nowadays.
I am seeing a trend whereby publishers are packaging diagnostic/clinical information/drug information software as integrated bundles for PDAs. Is this a good thing? Yes I think so as it would appeal to doctors who may not have an idea where to begin to get the software on an individual basis. It's also a good thing as generally speaking integrated software would work better together rather than individual standalone applications. Something like your Hifi system I guess. Bundles are also generally cheaper than purchasing the apps individually.
On the other hand, you are tied down to an individual publisher and hence that publisher's strengths and weaknesses. You don't get to mix your own.

On a related note, there's yet another survey by Skyscape which has found (surprise, surprise) that Mobile Handheld Technology Empowers Medical Providers to Deliver Better and More Efficient Care While Reducing Errors:

MARLBOROUGH, MASS. – Feb. 6, 2006 – Physicians and others who use PDAs, Smartphones, and related medical decision support tools say they’re providing better and more efficient patient care as a result, according to a new survey of 2,800 medical professionals conducted by Skyscape, Inc.

In the research, a majority of medical professionals surveyed cited mobile handheld technology and related software titles and tools as “critical” to their daily practice – and reported that the solutions enabled them to reduce potential medical errors, provide greater medical care, and assist more patients, according to John Ryder, Vice President, of Skyscape, Inc.

An overwhelming 84 percent of the medical professionals surveyed reported that their personal use of PDAs and medical-related reference titles and decision software resulted in a decrease of potential medical errors, he said.

Even more, 88 percent, said they increased efficiencies in their practice through the use of the technology, with 72 percent reporting being able to provide more care in less time.

PDAs, however, are no longer just a tool of the individual physician, Ryder noted. Hospitals and educational institutions are deploying or otherwise supporting the use of handheld decision support software by doctors as well as nurses, medical students and instructors.

While 50% of US physicians are already using handheld devices, usage should continue to grow as new applications are customized to the technology, he said. As a tool in their daily practice, 70% of medical professionals in the Skyscape survey called their use of PDAs either “Important or “Critical.”

“Meanwhile, the 800-pound gorilla in the equation is the coming ‘convergence’ of a variety of currently stand-alone e-applications,” Ryder said.

In the Skyscape survey, medical professionals cited the access of drug, clinical, and drug interaction references, along with organizational information such as treatment guidelines, as their current, chief PDA-based applications.

“Expect the growth in handheld technology to be driven by a growing trend in evidence-based medicine, daily (if not hourly) updates in reference databases, and increased wireless accessibility,” Ryder said. “Combine this on-going ‘information barrage’ with the coming convergence of EMR (e-medical records) and e-prescribing on handheld devices – and we’ll see more medical professionals using PDAs more often and for more uses.”

“But more importantly, patients are welcoming the increased speed and accuracy of medical care – as well as the greater attention and overall confidence by their caregivers that handheld technology is helping to provide at the point-of-care,” Ryder said. “The bottom line is that continuing evolution of mobile handheld technology and decision support tools is resulting in better medicine.”

Saturday, February 04, 2006

B.N.F. revisited (part two)

The B.N.F. ( is a free (but registration required) site for doctors to access drug information. It is widely used in the UK and some other countries. It is somewhat short on some drug info like mechanism of action but it has the essentials and the preamble in each drug section is quite useful.
Anyway continuing with the B.N.F. story.... I believe there have been some who have "cached" the B.N.F. and converted the pages into iSilo format for "offline" viewing. Is this acceptable? I don't think the B.N.F. folks would agree to it.
The B.N.F. website, although stating that "Users may view, use, reproduce or store copies of Publishers’ Material without seeking permission provided it is for non-commercial personal or professional use; or it is for non-commercial research, private study or in a non-commercial document with limited circulation", also states that "downloading a substantial amount of the Publishers’ Material onto any digital device for ‘off-line’ use is not within the Permitted Purposes".
So folks, no, it is not within the B.N.F.'s terms of use to create an iSilo document - pity. Anyway the B.N.F. has put in place an electronic mechanism to prevent wholesale downloading of their website so it would be difficult to do this.

What if this were possible? I don't really know so don't ask me how, what, where etc.
The following is just a hypothetical example of what the B.N.F. would look like if it were possible:


The hypothetical size of such an iSilo document is said to be about 8.7MB.
Would such an iSilo document be useful it were available? Yes, it would help those with PalmPDAs without any wireless or Wifi capabilities.
I believe however accessing the B.N.F. website directly from a wireless capable PDA (as mentioned in B.N.F. revisited (part one) ) is still the better option because there is the Search function which works very well. The search field will also take multiple drugs for checking drug interaction. A static B.N.F. isilo document will not permit such features. It is also cumbersome to use iSilo's search mechanism for such a large document.

BM has pointed out that you can actually purchase the BNF for PDA - this is goood news if you really want a full fledged PDA version (since the hypothetical example above doesn't really exist). You can get it from

Cochrane reviews in your Palm - for free

I did mention back in December 2005 that you can get a special PDA version of the Cochrane database of systematic reviews. I notice that Medgadget has mentioned this again in Cochrane Reviews - Evidence-Based Medicine At the Bedside. While convenient, I realise that the price is not exactly a bargain - you have to purchase each topic individually!

Well, there is a free alternative.
1) Access the Cochrane Library with your browser
2) Use the Search function in the upper right of the page to locate the paper you want
3) Save a PDF copy
4) Use PalmPDF to read it in your Palm

Simple isn't it?

Digg Story

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Doctors' Gadgets Forum

The Doctors' Gadgets Forum has relocated and is accessible from this URL:
The link to the forum from The Palmdoc Chronicles in the left hand panel has been updated accrodingly.
Thanks to Chris Paton for the info.

Documentation & PDAs

Never let it be said that you can't read a Drs handwriting:-)

This study, published by BiomedCentral, and therefore open access,

manual form filling compared with PDA form filling. Conclusion: more forms get filled in properly with a PDA!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Emergency Manual of Medicine

Unbound Medicine announces the release of Emergency Manual of Medicine, 6th Edition for PDAs.
Newly updated for PDA, the manual delivers patient presentations, diagnoses, treatment strategies, indications for hospital admission, and appropriate follow-up--all organized for rapid reference.

Epocrates SxDx

This was spotted in the beginning of January 2006 but now Epocrates is officially announcing Epocrates SxDx

What is Epocrates SxDx?

Epocrates SxDx integrates the concise Epocrates Dx™ disease reference with the NEW Epocrates Sx™ symptom assessment tool, developed in collaboration with the Massachusetts General Hospital's Laboratory of Computer Science.

The Epocrates Sx tool (accessed via the Sx tab) enables you to enter patient symptoms and findings to generate an index of the most relevant common and rare diagnoses in Epocrates Dx.

Epocrates Sx employs a unique diagnosis rating algorithm based on many factors, including:

* Frequency of findings in a particular disease
* Prevalence of findings/ disease in the US population
* Combination of symptoms
* Clinical filters, e.g., gender, age

The more symptoms and patient information you enter, the more relevant your results will be.

In celebration of this launch, you can save 25% through February 13!