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Digital assistance: database programs: HanDBase v3.0.

Overview: HanDBase is a highly customizable database program for Palm and Pocket PC handheld devices. Intuitive configuration allows easy creation, use, and sharing of databases for virtually any type of information. The wide variety of free HanDBase medical databases and the improved security features are particularly attractive for health care professionals.

Background: Information is typically of greatest value when properly organized and readily accessible. Physicians must effectively manage a variety of information types each day Shopping lists, passwords and account numbers, and travel information--not to mention patient case details--must be recorded, organized, searchable, and handy Index cards or pocket calendars may help, but they have drawbacks. Database applications written for handheld computers are easily configured and overcome some of the limitations of other methods of information management.

Description: HanDBase is one such application. The program was developed by DDH Software inc. in 1999 and is updated regularly (most recently in November 2002). The current version (version 3.0) is available for both Palm and Pocket PC--based devices. It may be purchased and downloaded from or

From patient details to characteristics of your wine collection, virtually any type of information may be organized with HanDBase. Powerful databases are easily created from the opening screen. A properties screen includes a variety of touch-rap functions that allow easy configuration of the database. The general button accesses database naming, categorization, and backup preferences. The fields button allows for intuitive configuration and ordering of up to 100 data fields. For each field, the user may specify data type: text, integer, date, image, calculated result. The forms button allows further customization through creation of aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly color forms for data entry or editing. This feature is included in the Professional and Enterprise editions only The views button allows users to define and memorize other desirable data views such as different field orders, sorting schema, and filter characteristics. The alarms button allows the user to assign dare/time alarms to particular r ecords. An author button activates a simple free-form comments screen, and the extras button is reserved for future features. The security button is new to version 3.0 and adds important password access controls and encryption configuration options.

Once a database has been created, information entry may be facilitated by establishing drop-down lists of common entries such as allergies or admitting diagnoses. Records may be sorted; filtered; beamed via infrared or Blue-tooth; synchronized with the HanDBase desktop companion; or exported to Microsoft Word, Excel, or Access. The Professional and Enterprise editions allow several handhelds to synchronize with a common desktop database.

DDH Software's Web-based resources bear special consideration. The company Web site is well organized, and support services are responsive to e-mail inquiries. Additionally, an impressive variety of free databases (submitted by dedicated users) is available for download from an applet gallery.

Final Notes: HanDBase is a full-featured database application available for both Palm-and Pocket PC--based handheld devices. Field configuration is intuitive; drop-down boxes ease data input; and forms and views greatly expand entry editing, and data-viewing options. Flexible synchronization and data-export alternatives facilitate multiuser application and data archiving.

Contact/Download Information:

Title: HanDBase v3.0

Developer: DDH Software Inc.

Web site: (also available from

Platform: Palm OS (v3.0-5.0), Windows CE 3.0, Pocket PC 2002 (Microsoft ActiveSync 3.0 and higher)

Memory: Palm OS, about 500 kilobytes; Pocket PC, about 750 kilobytes

Cost: $29.99 for Plus edition, $39.99 for Professional edition, $99.99 for Enterprise edition

Next month: Immunization schedules

DR. THOMAS G. MCLEOD and DR. JON O. EBBERT are with the division of community internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Their reviews are independent evaluations, and they receive no compensation from and do not consult with the manufacturers of the products evaluated in this column.
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Author:McLeod, Thomas G.; Ebbert, Jon O.
Publication:OB GYN News
Date:Jun 15, 2003
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