By Dr David Topps
David is a family doc working as full time academic staff
at Dept. of Family
Medicine at University of Calgary. David has more than
14 years experience with PDAs ( .... long before Palms were
even a glint in Jeff
Hawkins' eye). David is the project director for the
PocketProf web site.
Intro to Dr. Nerd's Diary:
Dr Doug Hall and myself put on this impromptu duet at the
Family Medicine Forum in Vancouver this year. It walks you
through the morning activities of Dr Nerd, faculty, and Dr
Geek, his resident, illustrating how you can use a "fully
connected" PDA in daily practice. The scenario is obviously
fictitious but all the links and services are available NOW
- this is not the Jetson's ;-)
We will follow the morning of Dr David Nerd,
on Faculty at Upfurtha University and Dr Doug Geek, his Resident.
07:00 Dr. Nerd's (DN) Alarm blares. Practise for new Bedroom
Olympic event - 'putting the alarm clock'. Fail to reach previous
personal best. Must get to gym more often.
07:15 DN Gets "Celine" out of her cradle. (Aside
to the less technophile readers - Celine is my iPaq 3670, not my
infant daughter.) I note that she has been gossiping with desktop
Outlook calendar overnight - and seems to be quite up-to-date on
what the boss's schedule (aka. Wife) is like today.
07:16 DN Aargh! Note (with some consternation) that boss
has palliative care team meeting scheduled at lunch time. Gotta
be home in time to take dogs to kennel. Will have to check clinic
schedule to see how heavily booked.
07:20 DN Fall over dogs while stumbling down to breakfast.
Hope that new Resident, Dr Geek, is back from vacation.
07:30 DG Wake with Bach's Sonata in B minor played as WAV
file by PDA's alarm clock.
07:45 DG Pull up morning news from AvantGo. CBC news headlines
show no world disasters looming. Wander over to stock quotes - note
that last week's hot tip from Dr Nerd has distinguished itself with
significant loss. Relieved not to have invested paltry savings.
Quick glance at weather. Check journal abstracts to see what might
come up during Rounds.
08:30 DN Increasingly concerned re morning schedule. Know
staff is in clinic and computers are humming. No answer on phones.
Remember last week's memo from Admin - no need to answer phones
before 0900. Gotta get on the road or traffic will be terrible.
08:35 DN Remember new Citrix server installed
at clinic. Dial into Clinic Information System using CDPD modem
- pull over to side of road after near miss with garbage truck.
Log into Citrix and open morning schedule directly from iPaq. Note
that Mrs Brown has appointment - always garrulous - block off extra
time so don't get behind.
08:40 DG Walk into hospital. Glad that had
web site to check Rounds topic - boring. Had time for extra
coffee with breakfast.
08:45 DG Log into hospital info system with
WiFi LAN card. Get patient list. Good, only 2 today. Get lab results
while walking up to ward. Pass security guard - old 3 watt radio
phases signal briefly but no data loss.
08:50 DN Partly hear radio report of traffic
trouble on Hwy 2. Log into Airtis
for real-time traffic update. Jam is clearing. No need to
divert. Won't be late for clinic.
10:05 DN Celine reminds me about Learning
Prescription given to DG last week. Ask DG what he found out about
current Anthrax scare. DG beams over references he found - ask
DG where he found these - shows PubMed Central. Some might be
useful to allay patient fears. Store in database for future reference.
10:10 Impressed by DG's homework. Record
in BARNIE - kinda nice to be able to dictate short notes,
in view of 'stellar' typing skills. Eval automatically emailed
to Dept secy so don't have to remember to fax it in.
11:20 DG Have ECG to do - mental block on
chest lead placement. Look it up in ProLog. Record as another
notch on the procedure totem. Astonished to see how little is
paid by Health Care for time taken. Mental note - must speed up.
Log data centrally collected - glad not to have to remember to
keep tally for next year's Privileges Inquisition.
11:30 DN Remember promise to DG to ask the
Prof about travel support for conference. Compose quick email
- send immediately via clinic WiFi LAN so Prof catches it before
goes off to Orlando for a week. Lucky bugger.
11:45 DG Like idea of portable email but
can't figure out how to get email working. DN rushing off so directs
me to FAQ on PocketProf
12:50 DN Home. Just in time to take dogs
for quick walk before off to kennels. Log into YYC
Flight Information System - see that flight has been delayed
45 mins. Got time for extra two miles with dogs before heading
off to airport - dogs delighted!
Footnote: Nearly all of the above is possible
today using current technology. Most of the data and programs
are publicly accessible but a few are still either proprietary
or still in development stage. To follow developments in some
of these exciting areas, keep an eye on our PocketProf
Dr David Topps can be reached via email