April 2001 MedBytes: Technology in the Medical Workplace

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 April 2001  

April's MedBytes deals with technology in the medical workplace.

This is the best all-around Web site for anything and everything to do with PDAs. For neophytes who have no clue about what PDA stands for (personal digital assistant), www.handango.com has a comprehensive glossary that explains terms and provides needed background information. For the health care professional determining how to use a PDA, Handango has a "Healthcare Business Solutions" section that includes product reviews and downloads by category (e.g., calculators, records, and reference).

Owned by ZDNet, the publisher of Popular Computing and Computer Shopper magazines, Download.com offers downloadable programs by the thousands at download.cnet.com . From PDA software to shareware games to the latest hardware drivers, Download.com is a great general resource for all of your computing needs.

While offering its services as a PDA software company, Handheldmed has more of a portal feel than its competitors. Handheldmed's Web site at www.handheldmed.com distinguishes itself as more than just a sales pitch by offering an outside link section, industry news, and specific content by medical specialty.

AvantGo is a content provider for your PDA. Signing up on its Web site (www.avantgo.com) is free, and once you are registered, hundreds of content channels from all over the world can be fed into your PDA to be examined at your leisure. U.S. content providers include the National Cancer Institute, the Cardiothoracic Surgery Network, and CollectiveMed.com.

This content-rich Web site (www.pdamd.com) is similar to that of Handheldmed. The difference in the two sites is that this site has more content and better organization in its navigation. The Web site runs feature articles, reviews products in a manner similar to Amazon.com, and has a group forum of publicly posted comments concerning PDAs and the health care industry.

Dragon Systems, Inc.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking software, the current de facto standard in consumer voice recognition software, is featured at www.dragonsys.com. Speaking into a microphone and having a computer translate your words into text is no longer the realm of Star Trek science. Dragon even has a medical intensive version of the popular software. This software can be configured for medical specialty areas such as radiology, medical records, and emergency medicine.

Texas Medical Association
Got questions? Ask the TMA Knowledge Base. It's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the association's Web site (www.texmed.org). Look for the "Got Questions?" icon. TMA has captured members' most commonly asked questions -- on practice management, legal and legislative issues, TMA membership and member services, continuing medical education, and public health and science. If you can't find your answer in the Knowledge Base, ask for Personal Assistance. TMA's professional staff will research your question, get back to you with the answer, and add it into the Knowledge Base to help those who log on after you.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site at www.texmed.org. If you know of some cool medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, email Erin Prather. Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.  

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