RNs are Mobilizing

October 24, 2003 - According to Forrester Research, nurses are unexceptional at-work Internet users, while 77% of physicians report that they connect to the Internet from work. Nevertheless, the data also shows that nurses frequently turn to the Web for reference and training from their computers at home. Notably the same research indicates that in North America more nurses are using PDAs than are physicians. (1.)

Data from Forrester's Consumers Technographics 2003 North American Bench Mark Study indicate that 408,020 physicians and 559,800 nurses are currently using PDAs.

* These data were compiled from: The CIA FactBook Population Statistics, the WHO Estimates of Health Personnel, and the Percentages of physicians (47%) and nurses (18%) reported to be PDAs users by the Forrester's Consumers Technographics 2003 North American Bench Mark Study

Moreover the adoption rate of PDAs by nurses and physicians closely parallel one another

* These data were compiled from: PDA cortex user statistics, Harris Interactive Polls and Forrester Research

Why do nurses prefer PDAs to that of a tethered PC?

  • Accessibility
"The current systems [tethered PCs] in place lack one critical feature; the ability to deliver data on demand. If you need to interrupt the delivery of healthcare to return to the nursing station to access data, you will forgo data access and focus on the more immediate requirement of delivery of care. Handheld or mobile computers, by definition overcome the limitation of stationary computer systems to deliver information on demand to those who must apply that knowledge." (2.)
  • Medication Error Reduction:

A paper presented by investigators at Brigham and Women's Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, reports: 50% of physicians using the ePocrates PDA drug reference guide avoided one or more serious adverse drug events per week. Moreover in a recent survey of the members of the Nursing PDAs listserv, respondents indicated that drug reference was the most important use of a PDA in nursing.


  • Nursing Specific PDA Drug References

As is the case in medicine making sure it’s the right medication can be a challenge. But in nursing that's just not enough. In nursing it’s all about the 5 R's:

  1. Right Medication
  2. Right Dose
  3. Right Patient
  4. Right Time
  5. Right Route

The nurses who were the early adopters of PDAs, quickly recognized the inherent value of mobile drug references and loaded their handhelds with them. It was not until the software producers began releasing nursing specific titles addressing the 5 R's that the adoption rate of nursing specific PDA software entered its current state of rapid growth. Today there are many titles that address the needs of nursing and more are on the way.


  • Nursing Education

In the same survey of the Nursing PDAs Listserv members almost 60% of respondents indicated that the use of PDAs in nursing education was very important.


“Students in the nursing programs will benefit [by using PDAs] in two ways. Firstly, the technology will enhance their education and, secondly, using PDA’s in the healthcare workplace is a thing of the future - graduates must be able to use the technology in a more practical environment.” Dr Maureen Farrell, RMIT University SoN.(3.)


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