One of the confusing issues when it comes to medical programs installed on the PDA is the
    availability of installable and online applications. In this article we attempt to explain the
    differences for better understanding of how we get applications on our PDA.

    Installable Apps: These are programs that we install onto our handheld devices and once
    they are installed they stay there and we can use them without the need for internet connection [offline
    access]. These programs can be installed by executing the set up file (.exe) which can be downloaded
    from the developer website and should be executed using the desktop computer and in the mean time
    the PDA should be connected "synced" to the desktop either via cable or via Bluetooth through the
    appropriate sync software ActiveSync for Pocket PC, Hotsync for Palm, or iTunes for iPhone.
    Sometimes there can be another version of the set up file called CAB (.cab) these files do not need the
    sync connection and can be copied directly to the PDA file folder and executed from there.
    CAB files would be perfect if you want to download the program [Over The Air, OTA] using your PDA
    internet connection without the need for your desktop. In the case of the iPhone/iTouch you may also
    install programs from the App store over wireless connection and no need for iTunes.

    Online Apps: These are applications and programs that we don't need to install and that can be
    accessed while the device is connected to the internet. This type of applications can be further sub-
    classified into two types:

    a) Mobile websites: These are websites designed to be accessed using the small PDA / Phone small
    screen internet browser. These websites are usually compatible with any device that has internet
    connection [few exceptions where the website is designed to be used by the iPhone only as it exploits
    the finger-touch technology of the iPhone and is not compatible with the stylus-tap interface of the
    Pocket PC or Palm].
    Most of the big technology companies have already made their mobile version of their websites
    such as Google Mobile and Yahoo! Mobile. This applies to the developers of medical applications also
    such as Unbound Medicine. There is a list of available pediatric mobile sites in this website.

    b) Online Apps: These are true applications which can be executed online but there is a very
    small number of such applications available for the medical PDA currently.
    It is postulated that such apps will be the norm in the future as we switch from the World Wide Web to
    the World Wide Computer where we shift from local hard drives to the clouds and you may even get rid
    of your PC!

    NOTE) It is important not mix-up the online apps designed specifically for the PDA screen with the
    online apps that are designed to be accessed by the large screen [laptop or desktop].
    Nevertheless, the desktop version may also be accessed by the PDA browser but the resultant user
    experience is usually bad as you have to go up and down and right and left to navigate
    through the same web page.
Installable and Online Applications:
What's the difference?
Developer
PDA Installable
Desktop Sites
Mobile Sites
Epocrates
Blackberry (Rx only) +
iPhone (Rx only) + Palm +
Windows Mobile
Available but not
for the full Epocrates
Essentials.
Not Available.
Skyscape
Blackberry + Palm +
Symbian + iPhone
Windows Mobile
Not Available [But they have
desktop versions of their
products].
iPhone-only Website,
deemed to close after
starting the native App.
Pepid
Blackberry + Palm +
Windows Mobile
Available with
full functions.
Wireless access compatible
with all platforms.
Unbound
Medicine
Blackberry + Palm +
Windows Mobile
Available for most of their
products.
Wireless websites for each
product compatible with all
platforms.
December 22, 2008
    It can be concluded from the above table that currently Pepid and Unbound Medicine are the best
    developers in terms of online applications but they are not as powerful as Skyscape and Epocrates when
    it comes to installable compatibility with the various operating systems. It is very likely that in the near
    future most developers will develop their online apps and make them ready for access by any device and
    any operating system.
Features
Installable
Online
Memory
Requirement
May consume significant
device memory and usually
requires a good amount of
RAM and processor speed
to work fine.
Any device with internet
connection is OK and no
need for memory and usually
no need for processor speed.
Internet
Connection
Is not required except for
updates if the program is
designed to do so.
Can not run without
internet connection.
Device [OS]
Compatibility
Developers have to write
OS specific applications.
Usually not platform specific
[any OS can do].
Versions
& Updates
Usually have to install
updates and new versions
manually.
Automatically updated and
usually better updated.
Installation
& Uninstallation
Sometimes problems with
installation and need to be
manually un-installed if we
choose to stop using them.
No installation required.
Here's a table of some pros and cons of installable versus online apps
It's quite obvious
from the table on
the left that
Online Apps
are
greener than
the installable
apps and
so they
have more
advantages.
Best Pediatric Programs
Now let's see some examples of medical PDA software developers and what do they provide for us
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Compusa (Systemax, Inc.)
Compusa (Systemax, Inc.)
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