Readers, I’m guessing you’ve seen the same stats I have, which suggest that doctors are crazy about tablet use, as well as smartphones. And we’d probably all agree that using both for clinical tasks makes sense in a lot of environments.
The thing is, few doctors are actually using these devices in day to day practice management, according to a recent study. A survey of 1,190 physicians published in June found that 75 percent of doctors use their desktop for practice management tasks, according to American Medical News. The study was published by little blue book directory and its parent company Sharecare.
Truthfully, doctors have a perfectly reasonable motive for doing so: they need the greater power and larger screens desktop computers provide. Not only that, they get to use their hospitals’ EMR in its original form, rather than through a Citrix or other client awkwardly shoehorned onto an iPad or Android tablet.
So, what to do to make the transition between these devices more seamless — and mobile devices better integrated into the mix? In a piece by Healthcare IT News‘ Michelle McNickle, whose work, like John, I’m beginning to find addicting, chief scientist at M.Modal Juergen Fritsch outlines some key steps in bridging the “mobile-desktop divide.” Here’s a few ideas on what needs fixing:
Inadequate apps: Many of the apps physicians use most often aren’t available for tablets or the iPhone. Workarounds exist, but they’re crude.
Speech recognition is critical: Doctors are already used to dictating into cellphones to do clinical documentation, so making tablets documentation friendly is very important.
Create a hybrid strategy: Don’t demand that physicians go all-mobile in one swoop, Fritsch suggests. Combine multiple devices and make the experience as similar as possible from device to device.
Educate doctors on the latest offerings: Doctors who used the initial round of apps and interfaces on mobile devices were probably irritated, as they were fairly cumbersome. CIOs and CMOs should make sure they educate physicians on current offerings, which will probably appeal to them much more.
To put in my own quibble, my sense from researching the matter is that the biggest force holding back mobile use is simply getting EMR vendors to create native clients for tablets and phones. Even if they’re not fully-featured, they should at least be cleanly usable. What do you think?