Hospital's recommended booksSomeday could hospital libraries be handing out PDAs, not just p-books, for patients’ recreational reading?

TeleBlog commenter Don Smith says a “Bypass operation left me with inability to concentrate while reading regular books. My PDAs have saved my passion for reading. The key was the small screen and inability to lose my place.”

Whether or not you agree with his observation on the side effects—I’m not qualified to say—I suspect there are plenty of people with strokes and other neurological conditions of many kinds who could benefit. Thanks for writing, Don, and keep us posted on your health and e-book use.

Possibility: If there are effects, might they not show up in all patients?

In any event, I’m be curious about the current use of PDAs in patient-oriented hospital libraries and also as part of rehabilitation. Maybe it’s already happening. What an interesting way to hand out health information along with regular reading. Needless to say, in such situations, an easy interface for the e-reading app would be a must, especially when dealing with patients with major strokes.

E-Reading at 30,000 feet

Meanwhile, did anyone pick up a little detail in the just-mentioned Swedish article on a newspaper-related experiment with E Ink machines? “On an aeroplane the reader has the benefit of not requiring elbow room. And since it does not contain a sender or receiver, there are none of the restrictions associated with mobile phones.”

Of course, wi-fi right now is not commonplace on airliners, requiring a store-and-read approach of the kind that iLiad-style machines can offer. Other e-reading fans can use services such as AvantGo and, at least in the case of Palms, Addit.

(Creative Commons-licensed photo.)


  1. As a Doctor, I can confirm that Bypass surgery is notorious for causing delirium. This is a waxing and waning of consciousness usually with a decrease in concentration ability. The person’s condition fluctuates quite a bit; they may be able to hold a conversation with you in the morning about their grandchildren and which school’s they go to, and in the afternoon they don’t even know they are in the hospital or what year it is.

    Although I don’t know if a smaller screen on a PDA would help with reading, it’s makes sense that with less words there is less chance of loosing ones place. Its seems logical that it would translate into an easier read.

    I will add that I always love to come into a patients room and see them reading. I always make a special effort to stop and talk to them about the book they are reading, and reading in general. The majority of people in the hospital sit there glassy eyes staring at the TV all day! It makes me feel like we are zombifying people!


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