Current issues of ACP Journal Club are published in Annals of Internal Medicine

Resource Corner

The Doctor's PDA and Smartphone Handbook


ACP J Club. 2007 Jan-Feb;146:A11. doi:10.7326/ACPJC-2007-146-1-A11

The Doctor's PDA and Smartphone Handbook aims to introduce clinicians—doctors, fellows, residents, and medical students—to the basic use of personal digital assistants (PDAs) in daily clinical care.

The book starts with general advice on buying a handheld computer, followed by detailed chapters on the most common functions (diary and calendar, address book, task list, and notes) explaining their use in detail. The discussion on smartphones (e.g., Treos and Blackberry) includes the most useful software, security issues, databases, and medical records for PDAs. Specific vignettes are presented in each chapter, showing a clinician actually practicing the chapter's lessons.

An online companion to the book can be found at contains short movie clips demonstrating the common functions for both Palm and PocketPC platforms, with audio, video, and screen animations. The excellent and free online movie clips provide all the basics a beginner may need, but the companion text is a great reference and contains additional material not found online.

The authors clearly possess a comprehensive knowledge of PDAs in clinical use and do a nice job of presenting the material in a user-friendly, concise text. Even more advanced users may benefit from some of the links provided and software recommended.


Methods/Quality of Information: 1 star

Clinical Usefulness: 5 of 5 stars

The Doctor's PDA and Smartphone Handbook is available online at for US $24.00.

Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH
New York University School of Medicine
New York, New York, USA