3rd Year Medical Students Use Handhelds

Jim Intriglia reports on a Zdnet article about a project at Wake Forest University to use networked PDA’s that allows 3rd Year medical students to gather and use patient data. While the article claims that they are using ‘networked PDA’s’, in reality they can only be synchronized on a network. The article highlights some of the problems with the approach, most notably security and the next step which is to have wireless PDA’s: “We need heavy encryption for patient confidentiality. Without that, we won’t do it,” While a much needed start, all of the failures of closed-source medical software are still present: fragmentation, and lack of intraoperability. Put another way: What happens after the students graduate and go to an environment that does not have the system?

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