The purpose of this study was to determine residents' perception of the utility of personal digital assistants (PDAs) and their influence on clinical practice at two teaching hospitals, one of which subsidized resident purchase of a PDA. A total of 21 residents in the unsubsidized group (32%) and 24 residents in the subsidized group (96%) owned a PDA. Medical residents who were provided with PDAs perceived them to be less useful than residents who were not provided with them. Palm owners in both groups responded that they used these devices to organize their record keeping and the most frequently used programs were pharmacopoeias, medical reference and clinical calculators. Residents quickly adapted PDA to clinical care and further research is needed to assess their impact on resident education and patient outcomes.
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