Winter 2004 Vol. XIX, No.

In this issue:

The Director's Report: Library Renovation

Highwire: An e-journal platform that keeps getting better

Finding Meeting and Conference Paper Abstracts

Security for your PDA

Pubmed Update

Electronic Journals FAQ

Web Watcher:
Grants or Funding Sources

Depression and Anxiety: The Johns Hopkins White Papers

New Circulating Laptops

New Public Computers
Coming Soon!

e-Medicine: A New Database

Longer Sunday Hours

Create Change: An advocacy brochure for Open Access

Highlights from the Library
Open House, Fall 2003

Update Archives


Editor: Robert M. Joven, MLS Information & Education Services Ext. 8493 E-mail - joven@uchc.edu




Securing info on your PDA
by Evelyn Morgen, MLS
Associate Director

Because PDAs are so small, there’s a risk they could be lost or misplaced, and someone else might try to access your personal data. If you have patient specific data on your PDA, this could even be a HIPAA compliance issue for you. So how can you secure your info? Here are some possibilities:

  • Assign a password to your PDA. No one could open the PDA without first entering a password. On the Palm system, security is one of the options under “preferences.” Open it and you’ll see several options for assigning passwords, locking your handheld or hiding private records. On the Pocket PC system, you’ll find these options under “settings.” Click on password, and assign either a simple or complex password, and choose whether to have the device prompt you for your password after a certain time.
  • Purchase a software program that will protect your data. The system recommended at UCHC is called PDA Defense. It has both Palm and PocketPC versions that provide a wide range of security options from assigning passwords to encrypting data. Their brochure states “If security software detracts from the usability of a PDA, it is a poor solution. . . . [our system uses] an extremely user-transparent interface.” The cost is currently $29.95. You can learn more about it on their website: http://www.pdadefense.com/
  • Refer to the UCHC policy on protecting information on any personal computing device including PDAs and laptops: http://itweb.uchc.edu/MainIT/PCDPolicy.htm You’ll find what level of security you need for the type of data on your handheld.
  • Read some articles on PDA security. Here’s a short list from PubMed:

    Pancoast PE, Patrick TB, Mitchell JA.
    Physician PDA use and the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
    J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2003 Nov-Dec;10(6):611-2.
    PMID: 14631929

    Goodman T.
    Lack of built-in security shouldn't inhibit PDA use.
    Health Manag Technol. 2003 Nov;24(11):58, 57. No abstract available.
    PMID: 14608717

    Chen ES, Mendonca EA, McKnight LK, Stetson PD, Lei J, Cimino JJ.
    PalmCIS: A Wireless Handheld Application for Satisfying Clinician Information Needs.
    J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2004 Jan-Feb;11(1):19-28. Epub 2003 Oct 05.
    PMID: 14527976

    Fowler DL, Hogle NJ, Martini F, Roh MS.
    The use of a personal digital assistant for wireless entry of data into a database via the Internet.
    Surg Endosc. 2002 Jan;16(1):221-3. Epub 2001 Nov 12.
    PMID: 11961662







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