handheld computers


Summary: A type of MICROCOMPUTER, sometimes called a personal digital assistant, that is very small and portable and fitting in a hand. They are convenient to use in clinical and other field situations for quick data management. They usually require docking with MICROCOMPUTERS for updates.

Top Publications

  1. Garrett B, Jackson C. A mobile clinical e-portfolio for nursing and medical students, using wireless personal digital assistants (PDAs). Nurse Educ Today. 2006;26:647-54 pubmed
  2. Rudkin S, Langdorf M, Macias D, Oman J, Kazzi A. Personal digital assistants change management more often than paper texts and foster patient confidence. Eur J Emerg Med. 2006;13:92-6 pubmed
    ..EMRs accessed personal digital assistants more often than paper texts. Patient perceptions of physicians who use personal digital assistants are neutral or favorable. ..
  3. Sohlberg M, Fickas S, Hung P, Fortier A. A comparison of four prompt modes for route finding for community travellers with severe cognitive impairments. Brain Inj. 2007;21:531-8 pubmed
    ..The majority of the participants also preferred this prompting mode. Findings are interpreted in the context of cognitive resource allocation theory. ..
  4. Morris C, Church L, Vincent C, Rao A. PDA usage and training: targeting curriculum for residents and faculty. Fam Med. 2007;39:419-24 pubmed
    ..PDAs have become a commonly used clinical tool. Lack of time and adequate training present a barrier to optimal application of PDAs in family medicine residency education. ..
  5. Doran D, Mylopoulos J, Kushniruk A, Nagle L, Laurie Shaw B, Sidani S, et al. Evidence in the palm of your hand: development of an outcomes-focused knowledge translation intervention. Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2007;4:69-77 pubmed
    ..A prototype software system was designed that enables nurses to use handheld computers to simultaneously document patients' responses to treatment, obtain real-time feedback about patient ..
  6. Seebregts C, Zwarenstein M, Mathews C, Fairall L, Flisher A, Seebregts C, et al. Handheld computers for survey and trial data collection in resource-poor settings: development and evaluation of PDACT, a Palm Pilot interviewing system. Int J Med Inform. 2009;78:721-31 pubmed publisher
    b>Handheld computers (personal digital assistant, PDA) have the potential to reduce the logistic burden, cost, and error rate of paper-based health research data collection, but there is a lack of appropriate software...
  7. Yu P, de Courten M, Pan E, Galea G, Pryor J. The development and evaluation of a PDA-based method for public health surveillance data collection in developing countries. Int J Med Inform. 2009;78:532-42 pubmed publisher
    ..It also significantly reduced errors in data entry. The later benefit was derived from the software providing its users with the flexibility of building their own constraints to control the data type, range and logic of data entry. ..
  8. Weitzel J, Bernhardt J, Usdan S, Mays D, Glanz K. Using wireless handheld computers and tailored text messaging to reduce negative consequences of drinking alcohol. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2007;68:534-7 pubmed
    ..the feasibility and short-term outcomes of a tailored intervention, delivered via text messages to wireless handheld computers, to reduce alcohol-related consequences among college students...
  9. Jones R. Soap opera video on handheld computers to reduce young urban women's HIV sex risk. AIDS Behav. 2008;12:876-84 pubmed publisher
    ..To date, no study has reported on use of video and ACASI on a handheld device to reduce HIV risk. The significance is the potential to stream health promotion videos to personal devices, such as cell phones. ..

More Information


  1. Bernabe Ortiz A, Curioso W, Gonzales M, Evangelista W, Castagnetto J, Carcamo C, et al. Handheld computers for self-administered sensitive data collection: a comparative study in Peru. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2008;8:11 pubmed publisher
    Low-cost handheld computers (PDA) potentially represent an efficient tool for collecting sensitive data in surveys...
  2. Welz T, Herbst K. Anonymous HIV testing with participant-controlled access to results using handheld computers: a new model of HIV testing used in a household survey in rural South Africa. Sex Transm Dis. 2008;35:372-6 pubmed publisher
  3. Schreiber W, Busser J, Huebsch S. A portable laboratory test reference for handheld computers: evaluation on an internal medicine clerkship. Am J Clin Pathol. 2008;129:439-44 pubmed publisher
    ..There was no relationship between end-of-clerkship examination scores and the number of tests that were accessed. The PDA program is an effective way to introduce laboratory facts and concepts into an internal medicine clerkship. ..
  4. Vanden Eng J, Wolkon A, Frolov A, Terlouw D, Eliades M, Morgah K, et al. Use of handheld computers with global positioning systems for probability sampling and data entry in household surveys. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2007;77:393-9 pubmed
    ..We propose this method as an alternative to the Expanded Program on Immunization cluster sample method when a fast, statistically valid survey is required in an environment with little census information at the enumeration area level. ..
  5. Farrell M, Rose L. Use of mobile handheld computers in clinical nursing education. J Nurs Educ. 2008;47:13-9 pubmed
    ..This study provides support for the ongoing implementation of PDAs into nursing education. ..
  6. Holubar S, Harvey Banchik L. A review of the use of handheld computers in medical nutrition. Nutr Clin Pract. 2007;22:428-35 pubmed
    b>Handheld computers, or personal digital assistants (PDAs), have been used to assist clinicians in medical nutrition since the early 1980s...
  7. Hauser S, Demner Fushman D, Jacobs J, Humphrey S, Ford G, Thoma G. Using wireless handheld computers to seek information at the point of care: an evaluation by clinicians. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2007;14:807-15 pubmed
    To evaluate: (1) the effectiveness of wireless handheld computers for online information retrieval in clinical settings; (2) the role of MEDLINE in answering clinical questions raised at the point of care...
  8. Yu F, Houston T, Ray M, Garner D, Berner E. Patterns of use of handheld clinical decision support tools in the clinical setting. Med Decis Making. 2007;27:744-53 pubmed
    ..Drug references and medical calculators have been consistently used more than clinical prediction rules and diagnostic systems. Self-report survey instruments may overestimate recorded use of CDS programs. ..
  9. Ranson S, Boothby J, Mazmanian P, Alvanzo A. Use of personal digital assistants (PDAs) in reflection on learning and practice. J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2007;27:227-33 pubmed
    ..Proponents of PDA use for clinical decisions should assure access to information that is useful to physicians for reflection on learning and practice. ..
  10. Greiver M, Drummond N, White D, Weshler J, Moineddin R. Angina on the Palm: randomized controlled pilot trial of Palm PDA software for referrals for cardiac testing. Can Fam Physician. 2005;51:382-3 pubmed
    ..2% with the PDA vs 40.9%, P =.869). A PDA-based software application can lead to improved care for patients with suspected angina seen in family practices; this finding requires confirmation in a larger study. ..
  11. Adatia F, Bedard P. "Palm reading": 2. Handheld software for physicians. CMAJ. 2003;168:727-34 pubmed
  12. Hansen B. Handheld computers in diabetes management. Diabetes Self Manag. 2002;19:43-4, 46, 48-9 pubmed
  13. Price M. Can hand-held computers improve adherence to guidelines? A (Palm) Pilot study of family doctors in British Columbia. Can Fam Physician. 2005;51:1506-7 pubmed
    ..This pilot study suggests PDAs are useful in improving preventive care and facilitating translation of knowledge into practice. This was particularly apparent with newer guidelines. ..
  14. Kho A, Henderson L, Dressler D, Kripalani S. Use of handheld computers in medical education. A systematic review. J Gen Intern Med. 2006;21:531-7 pubmed
    Over the past decade, handheld computers (or personal digital assistants [PDAs]) have become a popular tool among medical trainees and physicians. Few comprehensive reviews of PDA use in medicine have been published...
  15. Kushniruk A, Triola M, Borycki E, Stein B, Kannry J. Technology induced error and usability: the relationship between usability problems and prescription errors when using a handheld application. Int J Med Inform. 2005;74:519-26 pubmed
    ..Implications for identifying and predicting technology-induced error are discussed in the context of improving the safety of health care information systems. ..
  16. Galt K, Rule A, Houghton B, Young D, Remington G. Personal digital assistant-based drug information sources: potential to improve medication safety. J Med Libr Assoc. 2005;93:229-36 pubmed
    ..No resource was sufficient to address the patient safety information needs for all cases. ..
  17. Mihailidis A, Krones L, Boger J. Assistive computing devices: a pilot study to explore nurses' preferences and needs. Comput Inform Nurs. 2006;24:328-36 pubmed
    ..The results of this study will be used to develop design criteria for an assistive computing device that will aim to improve the performance of nurses through appropriate information and data support. ..
  18. Walker I, Sigouin C, Sek J, Almonte T, Carruthers J, Chan A, et al. Comparing hand-held computers and paper diaries for haemophilia home therapy: a randomized trial. Haemophilia. 2004;10:698-704 pubmed
    ..Although hand-held computers did not result in increased accuracy, errors could be detected and corrected more rapidly. Electronic data can more easily be verified, analysed and summarized than that from paper diaries. ..
  19. Bobula J, Anderson L, Riesch S, Canty Mitchell J, Duncan A, Kaiser Krueger H, et al. Enhancing survey data collection among youth and adults: use of handheld and laptop computers. Comput Inform Nurs. 2004;22:255-65 pubmed
    ..The method was developed as part of a large multisite, national study to prevent substance use. ..
  20. Palmblad M, Tiplady B. Electronic diaries and questionnaires: designing user interfaces that are easy for all patients to use. Qual Life Res. 2004;13:1199-207 pubmed
  21. Flanders A, Wiggins R, Gozum M. Handheld computers in radiology. Radiographics. 2003;23:1035-47 pubmed
    The next phase of the digital revolution in medicine is taking place through the dissemination of powerful handheld computers. Handheld computers, or personal digital assistants (PDAs), are no longer considered either a curiosity or a toy...
  22. Martin S. MD's computer, PDA use on the upswing. CMAJ. 2002;167:794 pubmed
  23. Miravitlles M, Llor C, Naberan K, Cots J. [Use of the Internet in a multicenter study of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in primary care. Pilot phase of the EFEMAP study]. Arch Bronconeumol. 2002;38:427-30 pubmed
    ..This system should be more widely used in the future, as it allows faster data collection and eliminates the need to input data at the end of the study. ..
  24. Elsmore T, Reeves D, Reeves A. The ARES test system for palm OS handheld computers. Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2007;22 Suppl 1:S135-44 pubmed
    The ARES (ANAM Readiness Evaluation System) is a cognitive testing system designed for operation on palm OS handheld computers i.e., Personal Digital Assistants (PDA)...
  25. Jotkowitz A, Oh J, Tu C, Elkin D, Pollack L, Kerpen H. The use of personal digital assistants among medical residents. Med Teach. 2006;28:382-4 pubmed
    ..Residents quickly adapted PDA to clinical care and further research is needed to assess their impact on resident education and patient outcomes. ..
  26. Lane S, Heddle N, Arnold E, Walker I. A review of randomized controlled trials comparing the effectiveness of hand held computers with paper methods for data collection. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2006;6:23 pubmed
    b>Handheld computers are increasingly favoured over paper and pencil methods to capture data in clinical research...
  27. Grasso B, Genest R, Yung K, Arnold C. Reducing errors in discharge medication lists by using personal digital assistants. Psychiatr Serv. 2002;53:1325-6 pubmed
    ..In the four-month period after the use of PDAs was implemented, seven of the 90 PDA-generated lists (8 percent) contained errors. Use of a PDA may be helpful in providing safer patient care. ..
  28. Brilla R, Wartenberg K. Introducing new technology: handheld computers and drug databases. A comparison between two residency programs. J Med Syst. 2004;28:57-61 pubmed
    There have been numerous efforts to introduce and increase the use of handheld computers, also called personal digital assistants (PDA), in health care, one of which is the distribution of PDAs to Neurology residents at the University of ..
  29. Lu Y, Xiao Y, Sears A, Jacko J. A review and a framework of handheld computer adoption in healthcare. Int J Med Inform. 2005;74:409-22 pubmed
    ..b>Handheld computers or personal digital assistants (PDAs) offer portable and unobtrusive access to clinical data and relevant ..
  30. Rosencrance J, Schott M, Linger B. Using PDAs during the internal medicine clerkship. W V Med J. 2004;100:236-7 pubmed
    ..PDAs offer a valuable means of reducing medical errors and further modernizing medical record keeping. ..
  31. Wiggins R. Personal digital assistants. J Digit Imaging. 2004;17:5-17 pubmed
    ..There are many diverse types of PDAs, and this article discusses the history of PDAs, general purchasing issues, general PDA features, and the most significant differences between the Palm and the Windows CE operating systems. ..
  32. Goldsworthy S, Lawrence N, Goodman W. The use of personal digital assistants at the point of care in an undergraduate nursing program. Comput Inform Nurs. 2006;24:138-43 pubmed
    ..The control groups were provided with paper resources equivalent to the software provided by the personal digital assistants. Findings showed a significant increase in self-efficacy in the groups with personal digital assistants. ..
  33. Stroud S, Erkel E, Smith C. The use of personal digital assistants by nurse practitioner students and faculty. J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2005;17:67-75 pubmed
    ..However, until there is evidence that PDA software is valid and reliable, clinicians should continue to use a multitude of references to assure the quality and safety of care provided. ..
  34. Hauser S, Demner Fushman D, Ford G, Thoma G. PubMed on Tap: discovering design principles for online information delivery to handheld computers. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2004;107:1430-3 pubmed
    Online access to biomedical information from handheld computers will be a valuable adjunct to other popular medical applications if information delivery systems are designed with handheld computers in mind...
  35. McCord G, Smucker W, Selius B, Hannan S, Davidson E, Schrop S, et al. Answering questions at the point of care: do residents practice EBM or manage information sources?. Acad Med. 2007;82:298-303 pubmed
    ..Additionally, it may be necessary to teach residents better information-management skills in addition to EBM skills. ..
  36. Luo J. Portable computing in psychiatry. Can J Psychiatry. 2004;49:24-30 pubmed
    Personal digital assistants (PDAs) or handheld computers have become more popular in the practice of medicine...
  37. Zankl A, Molinari L. ABase-a tool for the rapid assessment of anthropometric measurements on handheld computers. Am J Med Genet A. 2003;121A:146-50 pubmed
    ..The program runs on small handheld computers that can easily be carried around in a shirt pocket.
  38. Fletcher L, Erickson D, Toomey T, Wagenaar A. Handheld computers. A feasible alternative to paper forms for field data collection. Eval Rev. 2003;27:165-78 pubmed
    ..Agreement between data collected with paper forms and data collected with handheld computers was greater than 95%...
  39. Joy S, Benrubi G. Personal digital assistant use in Florida obstetrics and gynecology residency programs. South Med J. 2004;97:430-3 pubmed
  40. Johnston J, Leung G, Tin K, Ho L, Lam W, Fielding R. Evaluation of a handheld clinical decision support tool for evidence-based learning and practice in medical undergraduates. Med Educ. 2004;38:628-37 pubmed
    b>Handheld computers (PDAs) uploaded with clinical decision support software (CDSS) have the potential to facilitate the adoption of evidence-based medicine (EBM) at the point-of-care among undergraduate medical students...
  41. Miller S, Beattie M, Butt A. Personal digital assistant infectious diseases applications for health care professionals. Clin Infect Dis. 2003;36:1018-29 pubmed
    Personal digital assistants (PDAs; also known as "handheld computers," "pocket personal computers," and Palm Pilots) provide immediate access to vital and clinically relevant infectious diseases information at the ..
  42. Abubakar I, Williams C, McEvoy M. Development and evaluation of a hand held computer based on-call pack for health protection out of hours duty: a pilot study. BMC Public Health. 2005;5:35 pubmed
    ..This system provides a fast, reliable and easily maintained source of information for the public health on-call team. ..
  43. VanDenKerkhof E, Goldstein D, Lane J, Rimmer M, Van Dijk J. Using a personal digital assistant enhances gathering of patient data on an acute pain management service: a pilot study. Can J Anaesth. 2003;50:368-75 pubmed
    ..The PDA may even enhance the efficiency of the patient assessment process through the provision of more comprehensive digital data for research, clinical, and administrative needs. ..
  44. Wilden J, Riley R. Personal digital assistant (PDA) use amongst anaesthetists: an Australian survey. Anaesth Intensive Care. 2005;33:256-60 pubmed
    ..The most common software programs added to the operating system were pharmacopoeias, contact managers and database programs. ..
  45. Thompson B. The transforming effect of handheld computers on nursing practice. Nurs Adm Q. 2005;29:308-14 pubmed
    b>Handheld computers have the power to transform nursing care. The roots of this power are the shift to decentralization of communication, electronic health records, and nurses' greater need for information at the point of care...
  46. Saleh K, Radosevich D, Kassim R, Moussa M, Dykes D, Bottolfson H, et al. Comparison of commonly used orthopaedic outcome measures using palm-top computers and paper surveys. J Orthop Res. 2002;20:1146-51 pubmed
    ..These mode effects are important for orthopaedic surgeons to appreciate before implementing innovative data-capture technologies in their practices. ..
  47. Chang P, Hsu Y, Tzeng Y, Hou I, Sang Y. Development and pilot evaluation of user acceptance of advanced mass-gathering emergency medical services PDA support systems. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2004;107:1421-5 pubmed
    ..Overall, most of the subjects agreed with that the systems were easy to use and useful for the mass gatherings, and they were willing to accept the systems. ..
  48. Ying A. Mobile physician order entry. J Healthc Inf Manag. 2003;17:58-63 pubmed
    ..For these trends to succeed together, however, this expectation must be revised to establish a distinct category--mobile physician order entry (MPOE)--that is different from CPOE in form, function, and implementation. ..
  49. Miller R, Hillman J, Given R. Physician use of IT: results from the Deloitte Research Survey. J Healthc Inf Manag. 2004;18:72-80 pubmed
  50. McAlearney A, Schweikhart S, Medow M. Doctors' experience with handheld computers in clinical practice: qualitative study. BMJ. 2004;328:1162 pubmed
    To examine doctors' perspectives about their experiences with handheld computers in clinical practice. Qualitative study of eight focus groups consisting of doctors with diverse training and practice patterns...
  51. Pattillo R, Brewer M, Smith C. Tracking clinical use of personal digital assistant reference resources. Nurse Educ. 2007;32:39-42 pubmed
    ..The authors discuss the results of that activity and provide a starting point for the evaluation of the use of personal digital assistants by nursing students. ..
  52. Dwolatzky B, Trengove E, Struthers H, McIntyre J, Martinson N. Linking the global positioning system (GPS) to a personal digital assistant (PDA) to support tuberculosis control in South Africa: a pilot study. Int J Health Geogr. 2006;5:34 pubmed
    ..However, this PDA/GPS device could be used to reduce part of the burden on TB control programs. ..
  53. Berner E, Houston T, Ray M, Allison J, Heudebert G, Chatham W, et al. Improving ambulatory prescribing safety with a handheld decision support system: a randomized controlled trial. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2006;13:171-9 pubmed
    ..PARTICIPANTS provided with a PDA-based CDSS for NSAID prescribing made fewer unsafe treatment decisions than participants without the CDSS. ..