Dr. Nerd's Diary

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 surfed CME 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 on-the-fly evaluation 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 web site.

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 web site.

Dr David Topps can be reached via email

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