Personal Digital Assistants (PDAS) are rapidly becoming popular tools in the assistance of managing hospitalized patients, but little is known about how often expert recommendations are available for the treatment of infectious diseases in hospitalized patients.
To determine how often PDAs could provide expert recommendations for the management of infectious diseases in patients admitted to a general medicine teaching service.
Prospective observational cohort study
Internal medicine resident teaching service at an urban hospital in Dayton, Ohio
212 patients (out of 883 patients screened) were identified with possible infectious etiologies as the cause for admission to the hospital.
Patients were screened prospectively from July 2002 until October 2002 for infectious conditions as the cause of their admissions. 5 PDA programs were assessed in October 2002 to see if treatment recommendations were available for managing these patients. The programs were then reassessed in January 2004 to evaluate how the latest editions of the software would perform under the same context as the previous year.
PDAs provided treatment recommendations in at least one of the programs for 100% of the patients admitted over the 4 month period in the 2004 evaluation. Each of the programs reviewed improved from 2002 to 2004, with five of the six programs offering treatment recommendations for over 90% of patients in the study.
Current PDA software provides expert recommendations for a great majority of general internal medicine patients presenting to the hospital with infectious conditions.