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
Should I buy?
The chief advantages of a PDA include:
It fits in your pocket and can store many textbooks. Handbooks
such as the OHCM don't really fit in your pocket. As a medical student
you are forever wandering around often bored in situations where it
would be useful to look things up. You can get books such as the oxford
handbook of medicine, and the oxford handbook of specialities for the
same or cheaper price than the print editions. They come eith indexes
where you can type the subject in, and this is much quicker than
flicking through an index. This speed makes it possible to actually
look things up whilst clerking patients or on a ward round.
You can fit more books on them than you could even fit in your
bag. Many modern textbooks come in PDA versions. You can also fill them
with images (e.g. dermatological) and sounds (e.g. heart murmurs) to
help you learn by repitition. You can get massive texts like Harrison's
Principles of Medicine, and search it for topics. You can download web
pages and save them to read later.
You can make notes which you won't lose. PDAs allow you to
scribble on them and save these notes. You can then look back later to
look up topics etc.
The calender, todo list and other organisation tools that come
with them are actually useful. Organsiation is one of the keys of
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
Types of PDA/Smartphone
There are 3 categories of PDA:
. Becoming more popular.
. Are slowly becoming harder to get hold of
now that the emphasis nowadays is on making phones.
. 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?
is a comprehensive list of titles available to be purchased for pda.
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
, and the website
Oxford Handbook of medicine
can be purchased for 22 pounds and is probably the single most useful application for the pda.
is a free application that provides 1000+ differential diagnoses for many symptoms and signs.
is a free, self-explanatory application.
provides history/examination routines and explanation for many systems.
Transfer internet sites
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
to your device, and the
isiloX document creator
to your PC.
is a free (and non-free for some versions) drug information database,
geared towards American phycisians but still very relevant here.
can be put on a PDA but for the rather hefty price of about 45 pounds.
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."