In 2000, PDA sales peaked at approximately 7 million units worldwide. Last year, that number dropped to just over 2 million units. I often visit technology stores such as Future Shop or Best Buy and I cannot remember the last time that I saw anyone looking at a PDA at the ever shrinking PDA display counters. The telephone and multi-function mobile device is taking over from the PDA with Blackberries and Palm/Pocket PC based phones taking up the lion's share of the market for mobile devices. The advantage for the physician user is obviously the ability carry your information and decision support on the telephone (1 device) rather than on a PDA and carry a cell phone at the same time.
However, are physicians still predominant users of PDAs? Are the cell phones taking over as the devices of choice? Do physicians now tend to use the desktop/laptop/tablet PC with high speed Internet access or directly through an EMR to get medication information or clinical decision support information?
My sense is that although applications such as a Canadian version of ePocrates are important, will they continue to be so as we move to more computers in the office and the exam room and towards EMR and high speed internet access at point of care?
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"Epocrates Inc. announced its expansion into the global market with the introduction of local brand and generic drug names integrated into its clinical applications. The company’s mobile solutions, including the Epocrates Rx free drug reference and the Epocrates Essentials premium drug, disease and diagnostic guide, now include drug name indexes for four countries – Canada, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. “Epocrates products have become invaluable to me, with immediate access to current clinical information, such as drug dosing and interactions, on my personal digital assistant. The addition of the local drug content will help me provide even better care for my patients,” said Michael Golbey, family physician, Kelowna, BC. An Epocrates survey, conducted prior to the launch, found that nearly 90 percent of clinicians currently using Epocrates applications in the four countries believe that using Epocrates has helped them avoid medical errors, and more than 50 percent reported avoiding at least one medical error a week.