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These are very popular in other countries such as America and Germany but have not caught on to the same extent in the UK. Advances in mobile phone technology mean that many modern phones are tantamount to the old PDAs and in this way it could be said that their adoption is growing now.

Should I buy?

The chief advantages of a PDA include:

Disadvantages include price and looking geeky. PDAs often cost 70-300 pounds, and the books 20 pounds or so each. If you get a phone-pda then you look less geeky, and the contract might make it more affordable.

Types of PDA/Smartphone

There are 3 categories of PDA:

  1. Windows Mobile smartphones . Becoming more popular.
  2. Windows Mobile PDAs . Are slowly becoming harder to get hold of now that the emphasis nowadays is on making phones.
  3. Palm PDAs . The cheapest and the most usable software. They are a little dated nowadays.
Given the advantages it might be worth considering buying one if you have some extra unused money floating around. Or you could just go on a cheap holiday for the same price.

I've got one, what now?

Here is a comprehensive list of titles available to be purchased for pda.

Medical Reference

  1. You can download the whole of this website free to your PDA! Using the isilo program this website renders really quite well on any windows mobile/palm/and other devices. Download the software (free) here , and the website here .
  2. The Oxford Handbook of medicine can be purchased for 22 pounds and is probably the single most useful application for the pda.
  3. Diagnosaurus is a free application that provides 1000+ differential diagnoses for many symptoms and signs.
  4. Medical mnemonics is a free, self-explanatory application.
  5. Clinical Exam provides history/examination routines and explanation for many systems.

Transfer internet sites

  1. Isilo is a clever program available for many devices that can transfer whole websites to your pda. For an example of how well it works, download the pre-compiled version of this website. It is a bit complicated to use at first, however. You will need to download the reader to your device, and the isiloX document creator to your PC.

Drug Reference

  1. Epocrates is a free (and non-free for some versions) drug information database, geared towards American phycisians but still very relevant here.
  2. The BNF can be put on a PDA but for the rather hefty price of about 45 pounds.

Medical Calculators

  1. MedCalc is "a medical calculator running on Palm OS and Windows Mobile handheld devices. It is designed for rapid calculation of common medical formulas and scores used in anesthesiology, pediatrics, emergency, intensive care and internal medicine."
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