PDAs Help Doctors with Patient, Practice Management
Personal digital assistants -- hand-held electronic devices that allow physicians to retrieve clinical data and access patient information -- are "finding a place in exam rooms next to the 'Physicians' Desk Reference,'" Investor's Business Daily reports. Physicians use PDAs to carry out numerous tasks, such as storing patient insurance information and searching for drug interaction data. Dr. Edward Zabrek, a Houston-based OB/GYN, said that PDAs save doctors time and keep better patient records than paper filing, which leads to higher quality patient management. A variety of firms have entered the PDA market. EPocrates Inc., a company that produces PDA software containing disease and health plan information, estimates that more than 250,000 doctors and other health workers use its products, with an additional 25,000 new users signing up each month. Meanwhile, AllScripts Healthcare Solutions has created software that allows doctors to write prescriptions, make notes about patient visits and look up information on drugs and diseases. Zabrek said that the use of PDAs is currently "far from Utopian," but he hopes to see a system that "does everything ... talks to the hospital system, talks to your office and manages patients" (Howell, Investor's Business Daily, 5/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.