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Exploring PDA Usage by Iranian Residents and Interns: A Qualitative Study

Publication Type:

Journal Article


International Journal of Hospital Research, Volume 1, Issue 2 (2012)



Background and Objectives: Clinicians in many countries increasingly use Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) as an assisting tool in clinical practice. The pattern of PDA usage by clinicians in Iran has not been characterized. This study explored the attitudes of Iranian residents and interns toward medical uses of PDA.
An interview-based qualitative study was carried out in 2011. A purposive sampling method was adopted. Interviews were conducted with 11 interns and 10 residents at two teaching hospitals affiliated to Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS). Data was collected using semi-structured questions. Constant Comparative Analysis was used for data analysis.
All surveyed clinicians used the PDA in medical applications. Usage themes were decision support resources (95%), drug references (76%), electronic books (72%), web browsing (48%), medical dictionaries (38%), anatomy and medical atlases (33%), and laboratory applications (19%). UpToDate® was by far the premier decision support resource used by subjects. iPharm® and Lexi-drugs® were the most-referred-to pharmaceutical guides. Google was the only search engine for online information retrieval. Clinicians expressed their highest satisfaction with decision support resources and e-books.
Within its limitations, this study indicated that the most frequent medical usages of PDA are those more directly associated with patient care (decision support resources and drug references). This finding encourages further large-scale studies to examine whether a similar practice pattern is prevalent among Iranian clinicians and to which extent it influences patient outcome. If a high prevalence and high impact is revealed, the barriers to PDA use by clinicians should be identified and overcome.