Description: This is the PDA software version of the field guide of the same title on wilderness medicine. This edition updates the first edition of 1999.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide complete and instant access to emergency conditions, procedures, and supplies for outdoor medical emergencies. The material is thus available in a portable, lightweight PDA format for use in the field. Although this is a worthy objective, it may not be practical to carry a PDA in the backcountry where it may be damaged or run low on battery power without the ability to recharge. If available, the information could be quite helpful in the field.
Audience: The intended audience is the practicing physician "in the office, the Emergency Department, the outback or the backyard." The audience should be the healthcare worker or lay person who might require emergency information in the field. The textbook version would better serve the home or office needs of a healthcare worker. The authors set the standard for wilderness medicine textbooks.
Features: The PDA contains a condensed version of Wilderness Medicine: Management of Wilderness and Environmental Emergencies, 4th Edition (Mosby, 2001). The information is easily accessible through the index or table of contents. The PDA includes information on the diagnosis and management of outdoor medical emergencies and a limited number of illustrations (e.g. insects, snakes, plants). The software installs easily, but navigation can be difficult as the toolbar icons are too small to use easily. The strength of the software is the access to the information in the field if the PDA survives the backcountry.
Assessment: Overall, this is a useful product for the healthcare professional or lay person who is responsible for treating medical emergencies in the backcountry. A better resource in the office or emergency department would be the textbook version as it is more comprehensive. This upgrade from the first edition has more illustrations and improved ease of navigation. No references are provided in the software.