The use of personal digital assistants (PDAs) in healthcare has expanded exponentially in the past several years. In addition to common feature functions such as contact lists, calculators, calendars, and expense logs, current PDAs boast a wide variety of practical healthcare-related applications such pharmacologic databases, infectious disease programs, medication calculators, and patient scheduling and billing applications. This article examines PDAs in general and the Palm series of handheld devices in particular for use in the advanced practice setting. These devices have several implications for advanced practice nursing including support of both differential diagnosis and diagnostic reasoning, reduction of medication errors, and development of effective treatment protocols. Personal digital assistant technology will inevitably become part and parcel of advanced practice nursing. The rapid, almost daily, changes in the healthcare environment require immediate access to the myriad resources and databases used by advanced practice nurses. Personal digital assistant technology provides such access.

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