1. Perry, William MA, RN

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The Internet has brought the spirit of global communication and collaboration to nurses and other healthcare professionals in ways never before thought possible. These resources are offered to expand your opportunities for discussion, reference, education, and research.


Personal digital assistants (PDAs) are a hot topic. I find them a bit difficult to use because of the small screen and my impatience at either learning the graffiti or writing clearly enough for the machine to understand what I've written. They seem great as an appointment book, address book, and a portable reference for short bits of information. For reading longer articles or data collection I wonder how well they serve over time.


Applications designed for Internet or Intranet use can have a rich array of features and make good use of a larger amount of screen real estate to accomplish their goals, whether to communicate, collect, or display information. Useful as many people find them, applications must be specifically written to take advantage of their unique capabilities.


Delivering Cancer Information to PDAs and Other Wireless Devices ( was a project to determine if cancer Web site information could be adequately displayed on handheld computers. Their recommendations discuss some of the screen design implications for these devices.


Evaluation of Impact of Mobile Computer Devices on Clinical Care ( describes a study done to assess physician information needs and barriers to PDA use. Done in collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Nursing, this site has a large bibliography on handheld computer use and clinical applications.


Analysis of PDAs in Nursing: Benefits and Barriers ( is a summary of the findings of a master's project whose purpose was to "present the survey and consequent analysis of nurses' perceptions of benefits and barriers on nurses' PDA use. It presents an overview of the literature on benefits and barriers to PDA use in healthcare, describes development of the PDA barriers and benefits survey, its survey distribution, the sample, and the survey results."


Security is a frequently raised issue regarding PDA use in the healthcare environment. There are many resources listed in the PDA Security Page at In addition to background information it lists links to software protection as well as antivirus applications.


Yale University School of Medicine PDA Security Page ( offers background information, encryption, and links to password and data protection applications.


Is there a PDA in your future?