DESIGN AND IMPLEMANTATION OF A SOFTWARE BASED PERSONAL DIGITAL ASSISTANCE (PDA)


DESIGN AND IMPLEMANTATION OF A SOFTWARE BASED PERSONAL DIGITAL ASSISTANCE (PDA)

Abstract

Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) offer many potential advantages to clinicians. A number of systems have begun to appear for all types of PDAs that allow for the recording and tracking of patient information. PDAs allow information to be both entered and accessed at the point of care. They also allow information entered away from a central repository to be added or “synced” with data through the use of a wireless or wired connection. Few systems, however, have been designed to work in the client/server environment. Even fewer have been designed as point of care additions to already existing enterprise systems. This paper describes the issues encountered in deploying such a system for use in the University of Washington Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Personal Digital Assistance The lessons learned could be applied to other institutions that will seek to add handheld technology to information systems in the future.

INTRODUCTION

After new technology becomes available, people quickly find a way to use it. Unfortunately, without proper planning and understanding, such use can lead to failure or lack of adoption. Many papers have documented a need for careful consideration and testing when employing new systems or components. [1 -5]This is especially true in a medical environment, when there is little margin for error, and large implications for privacy concerns. Privacy concerns are particularly an issue for handheld technology as PDAs are portable, concealable, and able to store large amounts of information. Many physicians already use personal digital assistants (PDAs) in clinical use.Personal Digital Assistance

Applications have been developed to record and store patient information, calculate appropriate drug doses, provide databases of important information, and offer other forms of bedside clinical decision support.[7] In fact, due to their low cost, portable footprint, and easily deployable hardware – unburdened by the need for space, PDAs have been used to fulfill some of these functions incredibly well.Personal Digital Assistance

We conducted a study of a patient record and charting system that used PDAs to input and access information at the point of care. We hypothesized that such a system would reduce the number of times that information would need to be transcribed, resulting in a reduction of documentation errors in resident progress notes. We described the building of such a system, and how we chose the tools involved, in a previous paper.[1 1]. This paper focuses on lessons learned during the deployment of the system to test our hypothesis. Implementing such a system required a number of changes both to the structure of work in the unit, and to the system itself. The issues we encountered during this implementation provide many lessons to those who would like to deploy handheld technology in the clinical setting.Personal Digital Assistance

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