Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine

Survey of handheld computing among medical students


The purpose of this study was to identify trends in the utilization and acceptance of handheld computers (personal digital assistants) among medical students during preclinical and clinical training. We surveyed 366 medical students and collected information on computer expertise, current handheld computer use, predicted future use, and user acceptance. Handheld computers were primarily used for personal applications by students during their preclinical training and as drug references and clinical calculators during their clinical training. In the future, all participants predicted they would use handheld computers at significantly higher rates and on a broader range of medical applications. The adoption of handheld computing was independent of user satisfaction. Those with more clinical experience were less satisfied with handheld computers, suggesting that the expectations of the more experienced users were not met. The lack of institutional support was seen as a key limitation.

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