Nurses And PAs Use Digital Resources More Than Docs

Generally speaking, the push toward EMRs is designed to change how doctors use digital resources and structure how they interact with other professionals. As it turns out, though, there may be more enculturation to do. Nurses and advanced practice nurses currently spend a lot more time using digital resources than doctors do, according to a study by market research firm Manhattan Research.

To conduct its study, Manhattan Research reached out to 1,1012 U.S. practicing nurses and physician assistants online during the second quarter of 2012. The researchers found that there were distinct differences in the way doctors and nurses used digital resources.

For example, the research group found that 74 percent of PAs, 67 percent of RNs and 60 percent of APRNs use smartphones at the point of care, as opposed to 40 percent of physicians.

Nurses are also bigger professional users of online resources than doctors. Researchers found that while RNs spend 16 hours online per week on professional activities, APRNs 14 hours and PAs 14 hours, physicians average 11 hours.

A particularly interesting stat dug up by Manhattan was that physicians were far less likely to be interested in using pharma features within EMRs. The survey found that 83 percent of PAs, 79 percent of RNs and 76 percent of  of APRNs were interested, but only 67 percent of physicians.

I’m not suggesting that Manhattan did its work badly, but I am surprised by what I see here.  If nothing else, study after study has concluded that doctors are avid users of mobile technology at the point of care, including both smartphones and tablets.

Of course, doctors and nurses have different workflows, and that alone could be enough to explain the different between their digital consumption habits and doctors’.  But I can’t envision quite as easily why doctors and advanced practice nurses differ so much. It’ll be interesting to see if doctors catch up over the next year or two.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

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