Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), Smartphones, and Nursing
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Find out more information about PDAs in Informatics and Nursing: Competencies and Applications (Thede, L.Q. & Sewell, J.P.) - Chapter 13 - Mobile Computing: Finding Knowledge in the Palm of Your Hand. Click on the Textbook link in the web site menu to learn more.
What is a PDA?
A PDA (personal digital assistant) is a handheld computer. The PDA user can synchronize information between a desktop/laptop computer and the handheld device. PDAs give the user the ability to have a calendar, address book, email, electronic reference information (like drug information, medical dictionaries, medical calculators, laboratory and diagnostic testing information) at their fingertips.
What is a Smartphone?
For many years -- the Palm devices dominated the market and as a result, there are lots of freeware available for the Palm OS (operating system). I switched to a Pocket PC with Windows Mobile in 2004. In 2007, I transitioned to a Smartphone with Windows Mobile software. Smartphones are currently making an impact in the handheld computer market because cellular phone service providers make the devices very affordable.
In 2009, I transitioned from a Windows Mobile Smartphone to the iPhone 3G S. Wow! What a miraculous improvement. I loved the particular Windows Mobile Smartphone, but it was missing a touch screen and wireless capabilities. The iPhone 3G S has everything that I need. I love the way that it is mobile phone, an iPod (with my favorite music) a camera that shoots still and video, voice activated commands, a GPS, and really useful functions, for example:
I receive university email through an Exchange Server. The iPhone will allow me to connect and receive email from all four of my email accounts (didn't have that capability with the Windows Mobile Smartphone). I also can synch with Microsoft Outlook contacts and calendar on my PC in addition to the Exchange Server contacts and calendar.
Two colleagues on my research team also have iPhones. The photo on the left is from one of our research meetings. We use our iPhones to do phone conferences with four of our research partners in Huntsville, Alabama; Carrolton, Georgia; and Pittsburgh Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago. You can have up to 6 conference call participants on each phone. It uses talk time minutes quickly, but is still amazing.
New to the PDA World? Check out these tutorials!
How Do PDAs Work?
Great resource to help us understand how Smartphones and PDAs work is located on the How Stuff Works website:
Deciding What Device to Purchase?
Recommended PDA Resources of Interest to Nurses
Medical & Nursing PDA Software Resources
Mobile Computing Library Web Sites (Researched by T. Grizzard, W. Davis, & J. Russ)
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Last Updated: 02/14/2010