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Mobile Makes Its Mark on Healthcare Professionals

Providers turn to mobile devices when in search of information

Thanks in no small part to a federal government mandate, electronic health records (EHRs) are now commonly used by US healthcare providers. While these caregivers have initially managed EHRs on PCs, mobile healthcare software company Epocrates found that mobile devices are quickly being incorporated into their work behavior.

A May 2013 survey of US healthcare practitioners found that 86% of them had used a smartphone for professional purposes in 2013, up from 78% the previous year. Just over half had used a tablet in 2012, and just under half had relied on a mix of PCs, smartphones and tablets.

The informational needs of doctors and other healthcare providers have likely helped to push the adoption of mobile devices—their ability to put a number of resources at practitioners’ fingertips is surely invaluable. Unsurprisingly, doctors with a need for clinical information reported the highest use of multiple devices. Oncologists reported the highest use of all three devices at 59%. Cardiology was not far behind at 54%, followed by primary care physicians (48%), psychiatrists (44%), nurse practitioners (40%) and physician assistants (30%).

Healthcare providers using PCs and tablets were most often using those devices to manage EHRs, take notes or make electronic prescriptions. Smartphone users displayed somewhat different behavior, with searches being the most popular activity for professional purposes.

Emarketer estimates that the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries will spend $1.2 billion on digital advertising in 2013, with that figure growing to $1.5 billion by 2017.


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