The PalmPilot Data Entry System with CaptureWare was developed to collect information, such as quality-of-life surveys and standardized orthopaedic clinical evaluations, on a PalmPilot personal digital assistant (PDA).
The user downloads this information directly from the PDA into a Microsoft Access Database where software programs analyze the information. Before this technology was available, manual information entry into the database from paper forms was required. This necessitated the expense of data-entry personnel and resulted in a paper quagmire. The PDA system eliminates both these problems.
This article discusses general PDA use in the medical field, then describes the PalmPilot Data Entry System experience for one firm, Orthopaedic Associates, Ltd. The firm is a community-based practice, with 4 orthopaedic surgeons who have used the system for 6 months. The PDA Data Entry System was inexpensive and easy to use and, overwhelmingly, generated positive response from patients, nurses, and physicians.
Frank P. Giammattei, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hahnemann University, Philadelphia, PA.