Pda Prescriptions

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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One of the marvels of ePrescribing, even at this early stage of its implementation, is the variety of handy devices available to prescribers for transmitting prescriptions. Given that electronic prescription systems will spread across the nation--if only because of the encouragement of the federal government--the medical field can look forward to many innovative instruments for their use. As the demand for digital systems increases, more complex, but user-friendly, devices will be invented to help physicians and healthcare workers provide safer medical care for patients.

Personal Digital Assistants

Personal digital assistants (PDAs) are among the convenient, easy-to-use equipment that can be used for electronic prescribing. PDAs are stand-alone units that contain basic formulary and prescription-generating information. Portable and lightweight, they are perfect for use by prescribers who are on-the-move from exam room to exam room.

More advanced systems are sophisticated and stationary, and probably are fully integrated with electronic health records (EHR). These complex digital systems contain clinical decision support software. They certainly have the potential for two-way communications between prescribers, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers. At this time, however, this is a rarity.

Available right now are the PDAs that run Palm OS 3.5 or higher. These permit mobility and the incorporation of computerized prescribing into the doctor's workflow throughout the day. By going wireless, doctors can continue to work smoothly while still using digital assistants to facilitate prescribing. These devices allow the technology to assist the work, rather than forcing the work to adjust to the technology by having the prescriber leave the patient to enter information or to generate a prescription.

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