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Letters
April 7, 1999

Putting Computer-Based Evidence in the Hands of Clinicians—Reply

Author Affiliations
 

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;281(13):1171. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-13-jbk0407

In Reply: We applaud Dr Ebell and colleagues for joining the struggle to meet the information needs of clinical teams at the point of care. In April 1998 we abandoned the evidence cart and piloted handheld computers. These were radio-linked to our hospital's network, which (in collaboration with our Medical Informatics Group) provided our 1-page critical appraisals of key topics (CATs),1Best Evidence, a laboratory handbook, the Cochrane Library, and MEDLINE, as well as the laboratory results for individual patients and (depending on the test ordered) hypertext links to relevant CATs. A handheld computer (Fujitsu or Epson) was loaned for 2 weeks to every member of our general medicine clinical team (4 medical students, 2 house officers [interns], 2 senior house officers [junior residents], and 2 registrars [senior residents] and every log-in was captured in a central file. Each team member was asked to complete usage questionnaires covering the week before the introduction of the handheld computer (when they only had access to fixed computers at our nursing stations) and for the 2 weeks when they had their own handheld computers (attending physicians were the same during both periods).

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