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Handheld computers save time for physicians, patients
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Neurologist Dale Di Stefano uses a handheld wireless device to write prescriptions for his patients. Employing his "ePhysician," he saves the time and bother of many phone calls and relieves his patients of a customary wait.
"They love the fact that by the time they leave my office," said the doctor, "and go to the pharmacy, the prescription is going to be ready for them."
More and more physicians across the United States are using handheld electronic devices in their daily routines. Many report that these miniature computers are efficient, accurate and put a wealth of information at their fingertips.
Dr. Christine Hom, a pediatric rheumatologist at New York Medical College, uses a pharmaceutical database called "ePocrates," accessed through the popular Palm Computing platform.
"Rather than waiting for annual publications of large clumsy reference books, you will always be able to obtain free regular updates from ‘ePocrates’ using ‘AutoUpdate,’ " claims the San Carlos, California, company, ePocrates Inc.
Although information on side effects and drug interactions is limited, Hom says what is available through ePocrates is generally sufficient. "It’s an enormous plus to have the drug information that you need ... available to you on your person, in your pocket, as opposed to having to look for a book," she added.
Indeed, that's one of the chief benefits of many of these new devices. They're small enough to fit in a pocket, but powerful enough to take the place of a reference book.
Their speed is another plus for both doctors and patients
Pediatric orthopedist Allan Strongwater has "Wireless M.D.," which allows him to access patient records and speak to other doctors.
"One of the nice things about these wireless communications devices is that they allow you to speak directly with the physician, and usually within a few minutes you'll get a response," said Strongwater.
Is technology changing the doctor/patient relationship?
American Medical Association
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