Survey says PDAs improve physician practice

Physicians who use personal digital assistants (PDAs) cite greater efficiencies in their practice and improved quality of care and safety, according to a survey of more than 800 physicians. Among the findings, which were reported in Modern Physician (12/15/03):

  • Nearly nine out of 10 physicians (88%) said their PDAs allowed them to provide better care in less time.

  • About four out of 10 physicians (41%) said that their PDAs enabled them to increase the number of patients they saw per day or per week.

  • Half reported that the devices helped reduce mistakes by 4% or more.

The survey also found that, in addition to personal information, most physicians have software references such as drug and clinical tools on their PDAs and 21% said they have integrated formulary information.

But the leap toward integrating their PDAs with other applications or hospital information technology systems has not yet been made: 62% said their PDAs are not integrated with electronic applications such as billing software and more than 80% "do not experience tighter integration with hospital IT infrastructure by virtue of their PDAs," according to the survey, which was conducted by Skyscape, a Massachusetts-based developer of mobile software for health care.