Personal Digital Assistants for Clinical Teams: Lessons Learned from Two Pilot Studies in a Scottish Teaching Hospital

By Jo Vallis, James Walker, Iain Rosbottom, Alex Haig, Karen Beggs, Iain Colthart, Andy McKee and Craig Brown.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) or hand-held computers are increasingly popular clinical support tools, including in the UK where different professional groups use them for a range of education, clinical, informational, organizational, research and other purposes. However, projects developing PDA use remain small scale and patchy. Integrated hospital IT systems remains elusive and relatively few projects have, so far, described beside or ‘point of care’ use for a comprehensive range of educational, clinical, and informational functions. A Scottish teaching hospital is amongst the first UK hospitals to attempt this. This paper describes two short pilot studies of contrasting (cradle-based and wireless) hardware and a range of software functions (applications) for ‘point of care’ use. Local clinicians, technicians, educationalists and researchers collaborated to ready and test PDAs incorporating innovative Education, Patient, and Information applications, for introduction to clinical teams (doctors, nurses, and pharmacists) in medical wards at the hospital. This paper describes the two projects and outlines the strengths, weaknesses and lessons learned from this innovative work.

Keywords: Personal Digital Computers (PDAs), Clinical Teams, Point of Care, Wireless

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 690.203KB).

Dr. Jo Vallis

Research Officer, Research, NHS Education for Scotland (NES), Edinburgh, UK

Dr. Jo Vallis is Research Officer within NHS Education for Scotland (NES) with a remit to research and evaluate a range of educational research projects.

Dr. James Walker

Honorary Lecturer, University of Edinburgh; Foundation Tutor, SE Scotland; Consultant Physician, NHS Lothian, NHS Lothian, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Dr. James Walker is Honorary Lecturer, University of Edinburgh; Foundation Tutor, SE Scotland; and Consultant Physician, NHS Lothian.

Iain Rosbottom

eHealth Senior Project Manager, eHealth Department, NHS Lothian, Edinburgh, UK

Mr. Iain Rosbottom is Senior Project Manager within the Programmes team of NHS Lothian's eHealth Department.

Alex Haig

Information Scientist, e-Portfolio Department, NES, Edinburgh, UK

Mr.Alex Haig is Information Scientist based within NHS Education for Scotland. He co-manages the e-Portfolio Department.

Karen Beggs

e-Portfolio Projects Manager, NES, NES, Edinburgh, UK

Ms. Karen Beggs is e-Portfolio Projects Manager, based within NHS Education for Scotland.

Iain Colthart

Research Officer, Training Department, SE Region, NES, Edinburgh, UK

Mr. Iain Colthart is Research Officer based within NHS Education for Scotland.

Andy McKee

IT Director, ExtraMed, ExtraMed, Grangemouth, UK

Mr. Andy McKee is IT Director for ExtraMed, a local software development company.

Craig Brown

eHealth Project Officer, eHealth Department, NHS Lothian, Livingstone, UK

Mr. Craig Brown is eHealth Project Officer based within NHS Lothian's eHealth Department.

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