My Picks for Medical PDA's

During the past 3 years, I've dabbled around with several different programs for my Palm IIIx and now TRGPro. 

Medical References:

My all-around reference favorite is 5 Minute Clinical Consult by  It provides the user with Background, Differential Diagnoses, Treatments, Medicines, and Miscellaneous information for over 1000 different medical conditions.

Another goodie is the Merck Manual from  If 5MCC doesn't have it, chances are Merck will.  Better yet, it is free when you register with!  Beware, though 4.4 MB will suck up the memory of some older PDA devices.  Continuing with, they offer another 25 or so titles for you to add to your PDA, thus making it a portable library.  AMSA members are entitled to significant discounts, so for more, please click here.

Please allow me to introduce a NEW product here: qID from ePocrates.  It contains information on common infections, from your head to toes and current recommendations for treatment.  These can be either specific to the bug or just to the infected area.  I think it is a good effort at putting the Sanford Guide on the ol' PDA.

Drug References:

Again, wins the cake with it's program Lexi-Drugs.  When combined with the Interact program (they call the bundle package Apothecarium), you can work between Lexi-Drugs, 5MCC, and Interact.  This means that you can look up Diabetes Mellitus in 5MCC; link up to Lexi-Drugs to see what drugs have the least side effects; then link to Interact and see if this new drug will have a nasty interaction with the other slew of meds your patient is on.  (Read: saves your butt in the VA hospitals.)   They are phasing in the newer programs called A2Z Drugs and iFacts, which will replace Lexi-Drugs and Interact.

For the budget-minded, ePocrates is a strong second.  This program is free as well and takes up a smaller 900KB of memory, in comparison to the 2.6+ MB of Lexi-Drugs.  You won't find as many drugs or as much information just yet, but the new edition contains a "mechanism of action" section, although it lacks many details.  Another great feature of ePocrates is its Auto Update feature, thus keeping you up with the latest drugs as they are approved.  In fact, you can update it every time you Hot Sync.  This is a key feature that Lexi-Drugs lacks.

The newest player on the market is the old faithful "Tarasccon's ePharmacopoeia" from  It is a PDA version of the famous pocket pharmacopoeia, so save yourself the $9 and download it for free.  No mechanism of action, but it does have pricing.

The old favorite PDR is available through as well.  I don't use it much as Lexi-Drugs covers the material more efficiently.

Patient Tracking Programs:

To be honest, there is no perfect program to keep track of your patients.  However, I believe that PatientKeeper by Virtmed is the best available right now, but it is far from perfect.  Virtmed has promised to improve the program, but nothing new has been announced or is on the horizon so far...

You can also try Rounder by Synapse Software, Inc. or Pocket MD by Pocket MD.  Both are OK, but they lack the capability to beam information between PDA's and don't carry much info on each screen. 

Another option is HanDBase.  It allows you to create your own program for patient tracking.  One of the Critical Care-Surgery docs here at UPMC has a great setup for it, which allows him to point and click on most diagnoses and procedures.  A great example of what can be done with a good time commitment.

If you are looking for a way to make some big bucks, I would suggest creating a specialized program for the Palm OS in this area. 

Other Programs:

AvantGo!- What can I say, nothing beats reading the New York Times on your Palm Pilot!  You can check up on the weather, sports, news, learn how to make a Tom Collins for your dinner date, find a good restaurant for the business meeting tonight and numerous other things with this astounding program.  For medical uses, offers access to articles from NEJM, The Lancet and several other medical journals.  Nothing beats keeping up on recent goings on while riding in to the clinic.

Here I have several other programs that I find neat and occasionally impressive to house officers.

ABG Pro- Enter the ABG values, it tells you what is going on.  A must for that 3AM blood gas.

Cardiac Risk- Based on info. from the Framingham Study, it tells you what your CHD risk is based on Age, Cholesterol, HDL's, SBP and DBP.

Growth Chart- Determines the BMI and growth percentages for children.  Based on the new CDC Growth Charts.

PregTrak- Much faster than finding the pregnancy wheel.  Gives you the due date from the LMP or vice-versa.

Ranson- Can't remember Ranson's criteria for pancreatitis?  Well, pick this program up.

Kaplan- Yep. Kaplan has caught on to the bandwagon and now has their multiple choice questions for the USMLE Step 1 on the Palm. Download 100 questions free on their site prior to buying.

MedCalc- More than 30 commonly used medical calculations in one program, for free.  It saves me from remembering weird equations like BMI, CO, Anion Gap, GCS, etc.  Also available through

Shots!- Has the 2001 recommended shots calendar with more information a click away.  Good stuff! 

Vindigo- Information on eats, movies, nightlife, etc for over 20 cities.


For even more information, programs and a "how-to" CD, please check out Bartonella Software!  It was made by a good friend of mine who is quite the PDA guru.

Please drop me a line with any comments, questions, or suggestions!