Magazine article Information Management

Trading Paper for Palm Pilots. (Up Front: News, Trends & Analysis)

Magazine article Information Management

Trading Paper for Palm Pilots. (Up Front: News, Trends & Analysis)

Article excerpt

The New York Times recently reported that, someday soon, hand-held computers will be as ubiquitous as the stethoscope in U.S. healthcare environments. Industry professionals are adapting to new federal regulations regarding the privacy of medical records and working to overcome the problem of doctors' illegible handwriting for records and prescriptions.

Increased scrutiny of medical recordkeeping as a result of new regulations such as the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the growing use of laboratory testing and technologies, has created a climate for change from paper-based records systems.

"Federal Express could keep better track of a package than we could track patients," Dr. Redmond Burke, chief of cardiac surgery at Miami Children's Hospital, told the Times. "We were walking around with 5-by-7-inch index cards as the hospital database. They got lost. You couldn't access them."

But today, Burke and other doctors can use a hand-held personal digital assistant (PDA) for a variety of patient-related tasks, such as consulting electronic drug reference manuals before writing prescriptions. Research firm Harris Interactive estimates that about 17 percent of doctors use a hand-held in some way. …

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