The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) invited Dr. Mark Rosenbloom to speak on PDAs for medical students. Dr. Rosenbloom's speech—entitled "PDAs: More than Kissing in the Hallways" addressed how PDAs help medical professionals provide better care for patients. He also gave a synopsis of the current medical software available and provided a template for software evaluation.

Dr. Rosenbloom recommended that medical students do need to purchase a PDA because in the future they will not be able to effectively practice medicine without one. In fact, for medical professionals, a PDA already is a critial need.

There are many PDA models but just two main operating systems, Palm OS and Pocket PC. Dr. Rosenbloom recommended that students purchase a newer unit with 16 MB of internal memory.

Dr. Rosenbloom divided medical software currently available to students into two broad categories: data retrieval and data capture (i.e., patient tracking). Medical students will find data retrieval software (medical references, drug references, and medical and drug calculators) the most useful to them at this point in their careers. Current software choices are relatively inexpensive and some of them can be enormously valuable.

Concentrating on medical and drug reference programs, Dr. Rosenbloom discussed a set of general principles to help students determine which software choice is the most useful for them. Useful information must have three attributes: it must be relevant to everyday practice, it must be correct, and it must require little work to obtain.

PEPID, a portable medical-information database, is designed to assist in the reduction of medical errors and improve patient outcomes. It provides healthcare professionals access to current pharmacological and clinical information at the point-of-care via personal data assistants (PDAs). PEPID was founded in 1994 by Dr. Mark Rosenbloom, a board-certified emergency physician at Northwestern University School of Medicine. PEPID covers medical and trauma topics as well as drug topics typically encountered in emergency and primary care settings.

For more information about PEPID products, visit or call 888.321.7828.