Physician-in-Training Tips: Take Your Favorite Portable Browser on USB Stick

Typical physicians in training are always on the go and have to use multiple computer workstations on different hospital floors to access EMR, UpToDate and search for medical information on the Web.

You can take your favorite browser and settings with you by using a portable version of the program on a USB drive. The use of these programs is not recommended with EMR and you have to make sure that the IT department of your institution does not prohibit them running from a USB drive. The portable applications listed below do not require installation.

My favorite portable desktop applications are:

1. Portable Firefox browser

2. Portable Opera browser

3. Portable IrfanView image editor. Use the ZIP version and unzip to an USB stick or a folder.

Portable Applications and Other News
Portable Firefox on a USB Drive
How do you backup your computer files?
Image sources: the software projects linked above.


  1. I thought this would be a good idea when I started training, but it has never worked well for me. Every major hospital in my city has most workstations locked down to make it difficult or impossible to run programs from a USB key. Even if you can run programs, it's against policy. The machines that aren't locked down by IT are either filled with spyware or running an old OS so I wouldn't want to use them anyway.

    The other aspect is time - it takes too long for the average poky hospital workstation to recognize the key and run programs. I end up picking my "favorite" workstations and using them for as many tasks as possible before I move on.

  2. One other option is to unzip the portable Firefox or Opera in your My Documents directory (folder) and run it from there. It will remain in this folder after you log out. This usually works, unless, of course, it's against your department policy.