Personal digital assistants: a survey about utilization.


The results of a survey of personal digital assistants (PDA) usage among Indian health care providers within the Indian Health Service are reviewed. The Information Technology Support Center in Tucson, Arizona distributed 57 PDAs to twelve different IHS sites. Each provider was asked to complete a four-page survey related to the PDA and their utilization of it. Fifty-four providers completed the survey, but additional providers responded who had purchased their own PDAs. Fifty-nine percent of the users favored having the patient and clinical care information available on both the PDA and the Internet, while only 23% preferred having this information only on the PDA. The most commonly used PDA applications were (1) the address book, (2) calendar and appointments, (3) drug information, (4) dosing calculations, (5) formulary look-up, and (6) treatment algorithms. While few users in this group were willing to give up the PDAs without protest, there was no convincing evidence from user responses to prove that improved patient outcomes or patient care resulted from use of this technology.