Mobile Officially a Staple in the Doctor's Office - eMarketer

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Mobile Officially a Staple in the Doctor's Office

More than eight in 10 doctors use smartphones for work, and 56% use tablets

March 26, 2015

Plenty of consumers, and millennials especially, have voiced interest in mobile health technologies. Based on a Kantar Media study conducted in March 2015, this trend has carried over to doctors, too, as plenty now use mobile devices during their day-to-day.

US Physicians Who Use Smartphones for Professional Purposes, March 2012-March 2015 (% of respondents)

Among US physicians polled, 84% reported using smartphones for professional purposes. This was up from just under eight in 10 in March 2014. Tablet usage had also risen by 5 percentage points among the group. Fully 56% of doctors said they used tablets for their jobs, compared with just over half the year prior.

The types of apps doctors used varied depending on their device of choice. Physicians who used smartphones for professional purposes were most likely to access diagnostic tools or clinical reference apps, cited by 73% of this group, and drug and coding references followed (64%). Both of these app categories, as well as productivity and organization tools, were more popular among smartphone users than tablet users.

Meanwhile, medical journal, newspaper and magazine apps, which ranked third (52%) among the smartphone group, were the most popular app category among physicians who used tablets for work, cited by 77%. Higher usage was likely due to tablets’ larger screen sizes, which allow for easier reading. Similarly, electronic medical record apps, also text-heavy, were far more popular among tablet users, at 51%, vs. 23% of those using smartphones for work, as were patient education tools. While diagnostic tools were indeed more common among the smartphone group, they still ranked as the No. 2 app for tablet-toting physicians.

Leading Types of Health-Related Content Viewed via Mobile Device by US Physicians, Jan 2015 (% of respondents)

Looking at health-related content specifically, January 2015 research by MedData Group found that specialty-specific or clinical content was the leading type viewed via mobile by US physicians. Pharma information was also popular among a plurality of respondents, while one-third consumed continuing medical education articles. Overall, just over one-fifth of doctors didn’t read any professional content on their mobile devices.

Doctors are focused on making sure their entire practice is mobile, too. In MedData polling in September 2014, 37% of US physicians said ensuring a mobile-friendly experience for their clinicians was top of mind when it came to info technologies used at practices—the second-highest response.

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