Questions about Epocrates

I have Epocrates Essentials (the full set that you pay for). I really like it and use it a lot. My question is about the notes that you can add to the drugs and diseases. What happens if my PDA or Epocrates crashes to the point that I have to reload the software (both have happened on separate occasions over the past year). Since I sync my PDA with my laptop, will my notes be reloaded from my laptop or will they be lost forever?
Any info or experience anyone has had would be greatly appreciated.

I dunno - damned good question. I use Epocrates too, but have never entered any notes.

Tara, I’m nearly positive the notes should be stored on the laptop-- I’m away from my home computer right now (last trip on the interview trail-- hooray!), but I’ll check it for you when you get home.
I need to check anyway. My entire PDA died last month, and after the trembling and shock from the withdrawal ended, I ended up getting a new one (the only time in my life I’ve EVER bought the insurance you can get with electronics and I was able to use it, so I upgraded to a TX, which has features I now have no clue how to use-- but I digress). It was while trying to put my Epocrates renewal on my T2 that it died. Hmmm. So anyway, my point is that I have lost my notes since they are on the the desktop software that doesn’t work with my new PDA. I haven’t entered many notes, but a resident had beamed his to me, and he had lots of them. Darn.
On a similiar topic-- for anyone who doesn’t know, if you have a PDA and even if you only have the free Epocrates Dx, register for their newsletters! They have given me special discounts, and I am currently on a free year, simply for filling out a survey for them. (Nice that the survey coincided with the end of my previous free three months for reading the newsletters). I know it’s just because they want to hook us while we’re students, but still its great. Another thing, which probably everyone else knew already, Epocrates essentials now has the feature that allows you to look up symptoms.
Another side note-- one program I interviewed at gives money for ed expenses like most, but doesn’t allow that money to be used for a PDA. While other’s provide a PDA. Does anyone know if most programs that give ed money, but not PDAs, allow it to be used for PDAs and/or medical software? On a philosophical note, I don’t think having a text or reference on a PDA should be looked at any differently then having Sanford’s in my pocket, but I know some attendings seem to frown on the use of electronic brains. Hmmm.
Oh, one other tangentially related rant-- The hard case for the TX costs $40! The whole darn PDA would have cost $299 if not for the insurance. How can this possibly be worth this much? And yet, I know I’ll probably have to give in, just based on the number of dents in my poor T2’s hard case, which would otherwise have been in the T2. Sigh. And the cradle for the T2 OF COURSE doesn’t work for the newer model. It’s like cell phones. The accessories for your current model NEVER work with the new one you buy, and you end up spending more than you planned or wanted to.
Okay, tangentially related rant over.

Sorry for the sort of rambling nature of this post, but, well, to be honest my mind is sort of rambling lately…
Did I answer your question Tara?

Point of clarification to previous post-- I can check on the notes, because the software for the now defunct PDA was on my desktop (still is for that matter,) while the software for the new PDA is on my shiny new laptop.

Thanks for the info and congrats on being done!! Last prelim medicine interview for me is next Tuesday. Yipee
If I remember correctly, I had to re-download my epocrates software from the website when I had to reload my PDA. This may not be the only way, but when I was trying to figure it out that seemed to be the directions from the Epocrates website. But I am not sure if this overwrites everything. I don’t think that I could have just resynced with my laptop to reload the software onto my PDA. I just don’t want to put a lot of work into building a notes library only to loose it.
As an aside, Epocrates keeps your info about your account in their system, so they knew when my year subscription would be up. I also have downloaded the new Sx part. I’ve played with it but haven’t used it yet with a real patient.

I think we posted at just about the same time. So the notes are on your laptop that you had on your old PDA. Hmmmmm. If you still had your old PDA and were just trying to reload it, I wonder if it would reload the notes? Also, can you get the notes onto your new PDA?

Hmmm… I’ll have to play with this for a while-- you know, I might even break down and use the tech support at Epocrates for this one. They should know. I really don’t want to lose the notes
Good luck on your last prelim interview; I’ll be eager to hear where you end up, both for prelim, and for your neuro years.

I have used the free version for about 3 years now, is the paid version worth it? The tools are great as well as Drug data bases.

I really like the full Essentials. It has become my one stop shop for info. There is interconnectivity between the diseases section (Griffith’s 5 minute clinical consult) to the meds section, where you can be viewing information about the disease and tap on the med in the treatment section and it takes you to the RX section. There is a lab section that lists individual labs and lab panels. This section is helpful, but I wish it had information about the specificity and sensitivity about the test as well as interconnectivity with the disease section like with the meds.
There is also an ID section that has bugs, drugs and systems listed. It is good for listing what bugs cause a given disease, what diseases are covered by each drug as well as more general info like what classes you need for bug-class coverage. I don’t use this much because when I did my ID rotation, my attending pretty much made me become proficient at using Sanford’s and I haven’t had much ID on my subseqent rotations.
There is also a tables section that has a myriad of things such as ACLS guidelines, statin comparisons (% that each drug changes LDL, TG, and HDL), toxicology antidotes, vaccinations, and lots more. I have been using this section a lot on my rural outpt rotation.
I haven’t used the symptoms section yet other than to play with it just because it’s so new. There are also formularies available for download. I didn’t think much of this when I was only doing inpt medicine, but now that I am on an outpt rotation, I am amazed at how much I think about which insurance plans cover which meds.
Before I bought Essentials, I found myself clumsily bouncing around between several programs, esp 5MCC and the free Epocrates, and when I learned that Essentials had 5 Minute Clinical Consult, I decided that the ease of use would be worth the cost, but it has proven to be more than just that.
Then there is the ability to add notes, which I would really like to do, but I want to make sure I don’t loose them. One thing it doesn’t have that I really need is a medical dictionary, which I am finally getting around to buying.
Hope this helps,

I echo what Tec said. I have found that some of the more traditional attendings are at first a little resistant to the PDAs, but by the middle of the rotation they were asking me to look stuff up for them, and by the end of the rotation they were considering getting one of them themselves.

Hey Tara,

Whether or not you have your notes depends on how you sync with your Palm. If you sync the way most people do, then sync your palm with your laptop and your notes should be there. When you sync, you can have your laptop and Palm jive with each other. In other words, the changes that you make on your Palm and the changes on your laptop are added to your palm.

Some people want the laptop (desktop) to overwrite the Palm which you have to program in your Palm software. If you have not done this, you should be fine.


Do you recall where this setting is located?

Hey Dave,

Click on your HotSync icon (the little blue/red swirly thing). You should see a list of things that are synchronized every time you do a HotSync. Go down to Custom and then scroll down to System and you will see “Handheld overwrites Desktop”. This can be changed to “Desktop overwrites Handheld” for one HotSync so that things that are on your Desktop/Laptop can go back onto your Handheld. In the case of Epocrates, they synchronize so that what’s on the handheld will go on the Desktop/Laptop and whats on the Desktop/Laptop will go on the hand held with the Desktop/Laptop overwriting the Handheld.