AAP: The pediatric handheld

October 15, 2008

Evoking their inner Car Talk guy, David Stockwell, MD, a critical care specialist at Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC, and Andy Spooner, MD, a general pediatrician and chief medical officer at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Ohio, talked about handheld electronic devices to a group of pediatricians at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2008 National Conference and Exhibition.

Evoking their inner Car Talk guy, David Stockwell, MD, a critical care specialist at Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC, and Andy Spooner, MD, a general pediatrician and chief medical officer at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Ohio, talked about handheld electronic devices to a group of pediatricians at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2008 National Conference and Exhibition.

"You may be wondering whether you are showing a sign of weakness by whipping out a PDA in the middle of an exam," said Stockwell. The short answer is no. Stockwell went on to say that studies have shown that families are reassured when pediatricians look up something, because "we don't know all the answers in our head."

The discussion led by the former "Palm addicts" went on to highlight the pros and cons of the Palm, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, and iPhone platforms for physicians.

Palm

  • Numerous medical applications
  • Usable with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDFs, etc.
  • Phone/email/messaging is okay
  • Great organizer
  • No new standalone palmtops since 2005
  • Clunky, but Mac friendly

Windows Mobile

  • Numerous medical applications, but they are generally expensive on this platform
  • Usable with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDFs, etc.

  • Phone/email/messaging is good
  • Not Mac friendly
  • Prone to crashing
  • Good syncing with Outlook

Blackberry

  • Fewer medical applications
  • Only usable with Word, Excel, and PDF; no PowerPoint
  • Phone/email/messaging is excellent
  • Does not have to be synced to your desktop
  • Much more reliant on cell coverage while running applications. Therefore, users should sign up for an unlimited data plan from their providers, and think about cell phone service quality in their office or hospital

iPhone

  • Fewer medical applications
  • Phone/email/messaging is good
  • Usable with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF
  • Multimedia king
  • Firmware 2.1 is recommended for syncing

Spooner and Stockwell went on to list some of their favorite medical applications. They included:

  • Epocrates: Drug reference guide available for Palm, Windows Mobile, and iPhone devices. A free scaled-down version is available for the Blackberry. www.epocrates.com
  • Lexi-Comp: Most robust online drug reference guide. Available on Palm, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile devices. www.lexi.com
  • Shots: A downloadable immunization guide for Palm, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and iPhone users. www.skyscape.com
  • ICD-9 LITE: A free download of ICD-9 codes for the iPhone. www.igoapps.com
  • Eponyms.net: A free download of eponyms that attendings can use to assert their power over residents. Available for the Palm, Windows Mobile, and iPhone. www.eponyms.net