ACP-ASIM survey finds nearly half of US members use handheld computers

October 29, 2001

PHILADELPHIA (October 29, 2001) America's internists are making room in their pockets for handheld computers, according to a survey from the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) that shows 47 percent of respondents use them. Considering respondents who plan to use handheld computers in the future, the survey suggests 67 percent of ACP-ASIM members will be using them by the end of 2002.

The 489 members responding to the survey were under 60 and involved in the direct care of adult patients. Usage among men and women was almost equal. Sixty percent of respondents 40 years of age or younger use a handheld computer, while the devices are only used by 42 percent of respondents between ages 41 and 50, and 34 percent of respondents over 51. The Palm™ operating system was most popular, in use by 81 percent of the internists who use handheld computers, with seven percent using a Pocket PC™.

Eighty percent of respondents using handheld computers used them to access drug information. The survey found other top medical uses for handheld computers included references for normal lab values (32 percent), reading medical textbooks (21 percent), and billing or coding (21 percent).

The ACP-ASIM is considering the results of the survey as it expands its handheld-based educational resources. The organization has developed a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) Portal on its Web site ( that includes clinical references from ACP-ASIM publications; a weekly newsletter, ObserverExpress; reference tables for office-based instruction of medical students and residents; its Ethics Manual, and other materials. The popular ACP-ASIM book, "Drug Prescribing in Renal Failure," is currently under development for sale as a Palm-based application.

"We anticipate the use of handheld computers will continue to grow, and we will continue to investigate new applications in order to bring information to internists by handheld computers in addition to traditional methods," said William Hall, MD, FACP, a Rochester, N.Y., internist who is current president of ACP-ASIM.
The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM) is dedicated to the advancement of internal medicine so that its members can provide the best quality care for their patients. A nonprofit organization based in Philadelphia, it is the second-largest physician group in the United States. Its mission is to enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care by fostering excellence and professionalism in the practice of medicine.

American College of Physicians

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