Handheld or palm-based computing technology, commonly known as personal digital assistants (PDAs), are having a tremendous impact in many personal, educational, and business settings. The potential is particularly compelling for healthcare, specifically in the clinical setting. By exploring the development of the technology, applications, and products, as well as issues regarding its use, a better understanding of this technology can be gained. The rapid acceptance and ongoing swift development of handheld computing technology is leading to an evolution in the way clinical data and information move to and from the bedside and into the patient record. This article focuses on three main areas related to PDAs: the development of the palm technology, its potential in clinical settings, and available specific resources.

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