PDAs are used at the bedside to enter documentation, vitals, etc.; to access/view patient date such as labs, vitals, documentation, demographics, rad reports, etc; as drug and IV med calculators; to reference medication dose, side effects, etc.; Currently there are even PDA like or handheld devices utilized in the administration of meds - (and include bar code scanner functionality) to I.D. the right patient, right clinican and right drug.
Who owns or is allowed to use a PDA depends on the institution's policies and procedures. In some institutions the clinicians may own their own and utilize it like any other resource tool. Other institutions have devices that are owned by the facility but the clinicians use them while in-house. The device does not leave the facility. As a security precaution to safe guard patient health information systems are set up so that the clinician can access the clinical information system via the device but the data does not reside on the device. This prevents patient information from leaving the system/network even if the device inadvertently (who has not accidentally almost left with the narc keys?") left the facility. Through the utilization of wireless networks once data is entered via the device it is sent (real time) back to the main information system. Should the device fail nothing is lost. With a wired network data entered could be potentially lost should device failure occur between the time data was entered on the device and the time the device was docked. In the case of a traditional wired network the "docking" process is how newly entered information is communicated back tot he main information system and in that case you might lose whatever information was entered since the device was last docked. You need to also understand that personal PDAs do not usually have access to (or are not normally authorized to access) the hospital's network. Whether or not an individual has backed up the data on their own personal device would be a question you would have to ask the individual. Identifiable patient health information should not be placed on a personal device - at least that's our institution's policy. For additional background and information related to PDAs see previous multiple posts on this site.
Quote from Cookie@50
I would like to know how PDAs are used at bedside? Are they usually owned by individual nurses or are hospitals implementing them in patient care by providing /assigning nurses PDAs to document and procure patient information? I understand that access is through the hospital's network. What happens if there is a system failure? Would information be "backed up" if a personal PDA was used?