Personal Digital Assistant Usage Among Undergraduate Medical Students: Exploring Trends, Barriers, And the Advent of Smartphones (Brief Communications) (Report)
Personal digital assistant (PDA) use is widespread and now considered an essential part of medical practice [1, 2]. These devices, also known as handhelds, allow health professionals to find answers to clinical questions while at the patient’s bedside, resulting in better patient safety and clinical outcomes . However, it has been found that PDA users, especially medical students, often struggle to use these tools to their full potential [4-7]. Health sciences libraries have responded by providing resources and services such as the evaluation of PDA programs and devices, instruction sessions on effective PDA use, and even the provision of technical support [8, 9]. Most of the literature that can be used to inform library practices in this area only briefly describes PDA usage patterns [10, 11], the types of activities performed with a PDA, or the most popular programs used [2, 5, 7, 12-17]. Some studies go slightly further and examine barriers to handheld computing [6, 7,14, 18]. While a multitude of case studies superficially describe PDA initiatives implemented by libraries [19-22], few studies empirically examine the services and resources provided for medical students who use PDAs . Finally, little to nothing has been written on how the advent of the smartphone has affected PDA usage and users’ behaviours and needs .