Teaching people to use handheld computers

Peter L. Reynolds, Scott M. Strayer, Mark H. Ebell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Yes, handheld computers can simplify and improve healthcare delivery. No, not everyone agrees. On the individual level, some people naturally gravitate toward technologic solutions like handhelds. Others, however, just don't get the appeal.They're simply not interested. A third group of people, maybe the largest group overall, likes the idea of handheld computers but hesitates to invest time in anything new. If you've got a good thing going ("My inpatient-billing 3-by-5 index cards work just fine, thank you very much!"), why take chances with the unknown. Our experience as teachers shows that these three group-early adopters, nonadopters, and slow adopters-must be recognized and approached differently. Implementation of handhelds within a large organization, such as a training program or hospital staff, succeeds best when each type of adopter receives training specific to their needs. So, you may ask, what else is new? Target training to the needs of the learner-everyone knows that. Well, in practice, targeted training rarely happens. Take, for example, the first group, the early adopters. If you give an early adopter a current-generation handheld computer, in no time at all, they have mastered the basics and are telling everyone how wonderful life has become. No joke-something about these devices lights the techno fire within a nerd. Often, however, organizations drag their feet with new technology and make Huge Mistake #1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandhelds in Medicine
Subtitle of host publicationA Practical Guide for Clinicians
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)0387403299, 9780387403298
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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