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Teach Learn Med. 2009 Apr-Jun;21(2):100-4. doi: 10.1080/10401330902791321.

Personal digital assistants: a review of current and potential utilization among medical residents.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27713, USA.



Increases in the daily work load of medical residents, coupled with constraints on their work hours have made personal digital assistants (PDAs) an increasingly popular management resource. No comprehensive review of PDA utilization among medical residents has been published.


The purpose is to review and analyze current literature addressing PDA use by medical residents and to asses the future impact handheld computers may have on the daily practices of residents.


A systematic literature search was completed to identify publications that describe the use of PDAs by medical residents. Particular attention and priority was given to articles addressing patient care, information management, and educational outcomes.


The rate of PDA utilization has dramatically increased in the past decade. Today, 70% of residents report using a PDA daily. PDAs are most commonly used for referencing medication-prescribing guides, medical textbooks, patient documentation programs, and medical calculators. No articles have reported the impact of housestaff PDA use on educational or patient care outcomes.


PDAs are perceived as a valuable resource by most medical residents. Further studies are necessary to confirm that daily PDA use by housestaff confers an educational, institutional, and patient care benefit.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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