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New AHRQ tool for PDAs helps clinicians treat community-acquired pneumonia

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has announced its first clinical decision-support tool for personal digital assistants (PDAs) that is designed to help clinicians deliver evidence-based medicine at the point of care.

Select Pneumonia Severity Index Calculator to access the interactive application for PalmPilots® and other PDAs to help doctors quickly and easily determine whether patients with community-acquired pneumonia should be treated at home or in a hospital.

Community-acquired pneumonia contracted outside of a hospital or nursing home environment affects approximately 4 million Americans and costs approximately $10 billion to treat each year. More than 90 percent of these costs are spent on treating patients who are hospitalized for care.

Developed by MDpda Design, Inc., the Pneumonia Severity Index Calculator is based on a clinical algorithm produced in 1997 by the AHRQ-funded multidisciplinary research team called the Pneumonia Patient Outcomes Research Team or PORT. The Pneumonia PORT developed and tested the Pneumonia Severity Index clinical algorithm to aid clinicians in treatment decisions for patients with community-acquired pneumonia. The algorithm was validated in a broad, randomized controlled trial and was shown to be safe and cost effective and to improve satisfaction by enabling patients to be treated at home instead of in the hospital when appropriate. A sizable number of low-risk patients can be treated safely on an outpatient basis, but these patients must be accurately identified before such treatment is recommended, according to the AHRQ-sponsored research.

Select for more information about AHRQ's PDA applications. The AHRQ Pneumonia Severity Index Calculator is available in Palm OS®, Pocket PC, and HTML formats. Additional AHRQ PDA applications are in development.

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