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Perceived Benefits and Barriers of Handheld Computers in Clinical Practice

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Health Scope, Volume 3, Issue 4 (2014)



Handheld computers play an increasing role in improving healthcare services by making the information available at the point of care. There is not enough evidence regarding the usage of handheld computers by healthcare professionals in developing countries.
This study investigated the benefits and barriers of using handheld computers in clinical practice in a developing country, Iran.
Patients and Methods:
This qualitative study was conducted using a semi-structured interview protocol. The study subjects were selected using the purposive snowball sampling method. In-depth interviews were carried out by 21 medical interns and residents from May through September 2011. NVivo Software was used to codify and analyze the data.
The most important benefits of using handheld computers included easy access and instant delivery of health information, medical errors reduction, access to evidence-based clinical information, and improving the clinical decision makings and treatment quality. Three limitation categories of usage were also identified upon data analysis, related to handheld computers, individual barriers, and external limitations.
Handheld computers are useful devices for accessing up-to-date and evidence-based information in clinical practice to serve patients better. Healthcare authorities in developing countries should provide more support and considerations to reduce limitations of handheld computers usage in healthcare settings.