That Little Handheld

Anita King, MD, MPH

Unlocking the potential of your Palm Pilot or other handheld device is as easy as a brief visit to the Internet where literally hundreds of sites full of software await. While the Palma Sutra (yes, an actual free application) may not be terribly useful for work, there are many other emergency medicine-related applications that can be a part of your peripheral medical brain. Below are a few highlights to help you sort through all that is offered. Most are downloadable applications for the Palm OS operating system.

  • - Good old Epocrates, the drug database, is FREE in its most basic version. And for a limited time only, Epocrates is offering a 30-day FREE TRIAL of ePocrates Rx Pro premium, which has even more capabilities than the original. So click away. They also have a package that includes infectious disease/antibiotic choice software.

  • - The Tarascon Pharmacopeia is a FREE download. This little drug book becomes ever more invaluable as drug companies race to develop more and more products. Sort them all out with this tool, complete with drug dosages. The same contents as that very well-thumbed book in the pocket of your scrubs.

  • - From Johns Hopkins, a free antibiotics guide from their infectious diseases department. Our residency director, one of the pickiest and most demanding people I know, highly recommends this. According to him, it is faster than Sanford and generally gives advice on appropriate workup and classes of drugs.

  • - A wide variety of medical calculators from body mass index (BMI) calculators to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) prophylaxis protocols.

  • - Need a good movie review? Want CNN headlines or to know how the market is doing? This FREE site lets you customize a set of channels to receive on your handheld.

  • - Another medical formula calculator program that comes highly recommended.

  • - A medical calculator for everything from BMI to those complex kidney equations. Great for impressing your internal medicine consultants. Invaluable for providing care to those intensive care unit (ICU) level patients that are stuck in your emergency department (ED) for lack of beds.

And Others (Textbooks, Other Medical Resources)

  • - The antibiotic book we all use, but on Palm. Cost: $25.

  • - FREE, includes arterial blood gas (ABG) calculator and a pregnancy wheel.

  • - If you just want to browse a potpourri of different products, none of which are very expensive, this is a fun site to start with.

  • - This site has over 20 programs specific to emergency medicine, as well as standards like The Washington Manual for Palm. A good place to look if you want actual textbooks. The prices, however, are not pretty.

  • - More textbooks are available here. I still don't think they have managed to cram Rosens into a file small enough for us to carry.

  • - A set of clinical prediction rules.

Of course, in the end it is your individual personality, your medical strengths and weaknesses, and the size of your handheld device that will determine how much of what you want to carry. Remember that if space seems tight for programs, it is almost always possible to download applications onto memory cards rather than to the hard drive of your handheld. This can free up lots of space. So happy hunting in the world of the handheld - may you beam and download with abandon.

Note: products cited are for your information and do not constitute endorsement of any product.


Click here to
send us feedback