Information Revolution: Arming the Troops: Providing PDA Training to Rural Critical Access Hospitals

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Program Objective: to train rural physicians how to use PDAs and the ePocrates database

Setting: Tennessee rural critical access hospitals Participants: physicians

Program: This patient safety initiative was a collaboration between the Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) and the Universities of Southern Maine, Minnesota, and North Dakota, and the Maine Rural Health Research Center, Upper Midwest Rural Health Research Center, QSource (Tennessee QIO), eight small rural Tennessee hospitals and BlueCross/BlueShield of Tennessee (funder). Because of THA’s knowledge of the East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine Library (QCOML) through state conferences, QCOML was asked to conduct the training for the PDA segment of the project.

Main Results: The goal was to provide a PDA for every hospital prescriber in eight small rural Tennessee hospitals. The project provided a Palm TX device, a two year subscription to the full suite of ePocrates software and training. One hundred-thirty clinicians were trained in PDA/ePocrates. Retraining was provided at each site as needed.

Evaluation: evaluation was conducted by a 4–6 month user’s survey, usage data from ePocrates (sync, look-ups) and evaluation based on the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Survey.

Conclusion: Physicians were pleased with the PDAs and indicated that the devices positively influenced their patient care. This type of cooperative venture exposes the talents of medical librarians to new populations and opens up opportunities for further collaboration.


Philadelphia, PA

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