A review and a framework of handheld computer adoption in healthcare

Int J Med Inform. 2005 Jun;74(5):409-22. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2005.03.001. Epub 2005 Apr 12.


Wide adoption of mobile computing technology can potentially improve information access, enhance workflow, and promote evidence-based practice to make informed and effective decisions at the point of care. Handheld computers or personal digital assistants (PDAs) offer portable and unobtrusive access to clinical data and relevant information at the point of care. This article reviews the literature on issues related to adoption of PDAs in health care and barriers to PDA adoption. Studies showed that PDAs were used widely in health care providers' practice, and the level of use is expected to rise rapidly. Most care providers found PDAs to be functional and useful in areas of documentation, medical reference, and access to patient data. Major barriers to adoption were identified as usability, security concerns, and lack of technical and organizational support. PDAs offer health care practitioners advantages to enhance their clinical practice. However, better designed PDA hardware and software applications, more institutional support, seamless integration of PDA technology with hospital information systems, and satisfactory security measures are necessary to increase acceptance and wide use of PDAs in healthcare.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Access to Information
  • Attitude to Computers*
  • Computers, Handheld / classification
  • Computers, Handheld / statistics & numerical data*
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Health Personnel
  • United States