Wireless communication devices

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Wireless communication devices allow healthcare professionals to perform various routine tasks all while at the point of care. Wireless technology in the healthcare environment is possible by combining a secure wireless network infrastructure with one or more wireless communication devices. Using handheld devices or mobile computers, healthcare professionals can have real-time access to various applications in a clinical information system (CIS) while mobile or at a patient's bedside.


There are several different types of wireless communication devices and each of them offers healthcare assistance in a variety of ways.

Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)

[1]: a handheld device which may provide the ability to access and update a patient’s electronic medical record (EMR), barcode scanning, capture vitals, view laboratory results, or access a web-based clinical information system with a built-in web-browser. A PDA has the potential to improve a healthcare professional’s clinical decision making and may allow for more timely review of urgent radiological exam results[1][2].

Enterprise Digital Assistant (EDA)

[2]: a handheld device which may contain all the capabilities of a standard PDA as well as the functionality of a scanner and cell phone


[3]: mobile phone with enhanced capabilities which may contain some or all of the features of a PDA and is used by healthcare professionals to receive real-time data about a patient

Tablet Computer (PC)

[4]: may contain all the functions of a PDA as well as offering the ability for healthcare professionals to view a patient’s x-rays at their bedside. Tablet PCs are better suited for data entry that is higher in volume and more complex (e.g. images and free text) and may be preferable over the PDA for this type of data[3]

Mobile Computer

also referred to as a computer on wheels (COW) is a mobile computer cart containing a laptop which allows a healthcare professional to use various applications of a clinical information system

Voice Activated Badge

a wireless device that allows healthcare professionals to instantaneously contact each other anywhere in an organization using voice over IP (VoIP)


  1. OpusMobility(R) Clinical Information System Runs on Google G1 Smart Phone [5]
  2. OpusLaboratorySuite® on a smart phone or PDA: http://news.thomasnet.com/fullstory/547223
  3. MobileMed: A PDA-Based Mobile Clinical Information System: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?arnumber=1650519
  4. PatientKeeper Physician Information System for BlackBerry: http://www.berryreview.com/2008/02/26/patientkeeper-physician-information-system-available-for-blackberry
  5. Vocera smartphone, badge and client applications for both the iPhone® and BlackBerry®: http://www.vocera.com/products/smartphone.aspx

See Also


Mobile Computers

Tablet Computers


  1. Dee C, Teolis M, Todd A. Physicians' use of the personal digital assistant (PDA) in clinical decision making. J Med Libr Assoc. 2005 October; 93(4): 480–486.
  2. Tellis W, Andriole K. Integrating multiple clinical information systems using the Java message service framework to enable the delivery of urgent exam results at the point of care (2005). Journal of Digital Imaging. 18 (4), pp. 316-325
  3. Silvey G, Macri J, Lee P, Lobach D. Direct Comparison of a Tablet Computer and a Personal Digital Assistant for Point-of-Care Documentation in Eye Care. AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2005; 2005: 689–693.

Submitted by (DQuitmeyer)