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Health Agencies Update
April 16, 2003

PDA Alert!

JAMA. 2003;289(15):1915. doi:10.1001/jama.289.15.1915-a

Soon, thousands of physicians will receive an urgent bioterrorism message on their personal digital assistants (PDAs)—but it will only be a test.

A 3-month pilot project from the AHRQ is evaluating a new network for disseminating biological agent alerts. The aim, said officials, is to overcome communications problems uncovered during the 2001 anthrax letter attacks.

Physicians will receive the "doc alert" messages via ePocrates, a commercial PDA network. Each message will provide details of an "outbreak" of disease caused by category A bioagents such as smallpox, as well as key diagnostic and treatment information.