iPhone, medicine

My Accessory Brain

“No, Mrs. Smith. I’m not texting on my iPhone during our appointment. I’m just using my accessory brain.”

That’s what I call the various medical references that I carry with me at all times. Most doctors have an accessory brain of some sort. For the most part, I need to use it to look up drug dosages or to do some calculations. However, my accessory brain has come a long way, baby! Here’s my first one, dating back to my time as a third and fourth year medical student:

The book on the left is a house staff handbook, chock full of quick references and mnemonics.  Notice how well-worn it is- I got a lot of use out of it, and actually still occasionally look something up in it.  The one on the right is a Pharmacopoeia- a drug reference.  I also usually carried a Ferri Manual with me- this is a spiral bound book that’s several hundred pages in length, but yet claims to be a “pocket manual”.  I thank Dr. Ferri for my recurrent neck pain and poor posture.

After graduation, I went high tech.  At the time, high tech consisted of very primitive PDAs.  I had one called a Handspring Visor.  It had a whopping 2M of memory and was…large.  It also had this dumb little stylus that you had to use on the touchscreen.  I was always losing that stupid stylus.  However, it had the great advantage of being able to combine several medical references onto one device.

The handspring lasted a year or two, then I took my husband’s Palm Pilot as a hand-me-down.  It was smaller and had more memory.

I then moved up to a PDA called a Sony Clie.  It had this neat swivel screen.  Most impressively, it was in COLOR!  Wow!  I got a lot of use out of my Clie- I’d say it lasted about 4 years, which is an eternity in the world of technology.

The problem is that the pockets of my white coat would still bulge.  I’d carry my Clie, cell phone, pager, and prescription pad all the time.  My posture remained stooped.  Therefore, as technology advanced, I moved with it.  First, I tried a Trio.  This combined my cell phone and PDA into one device.  I still carried a pager.  I hated my Trio.  Hated it.  To be honest, I don’t even remember why I despised it so- I just did.  I probably had it for less than 6 months.  I then moved on to a BlackBerry.  That was better.  I used it for about 2 years.

And then…my love affair began.  It’s a love affair with my iPhone.  We started our relationship in 2009, and we’re still going strong.  All of my medical apps, my running apps, my email, my phone, e-prescribing…all in one cute, tiny package.  I’m not sure if things can get better than this, we’ll see.

In the meantime, I’ll be making future posts about my favorite apps.

And I promise not to text during an office visit.

1 thought on “My Accessory Brain”

  1. Hey! I found your site from the NYT article regarding exercise. I've been reading your previous posts and find them very interesting. I look forward to future adventures in the medical field!


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