There is often debate about the use of smartphones in the doctor’s office, but there’s no doubt that usage is on the rise. And according to the Kantar Media Sources & Interaction Study, the percentage of physicians using a smartphone for a professional purpose has risen nine percent in the past year. Here is a little comparison chart showing usage over the past three years (I apologize for how small it is).
As you can see, the study found that 74% (almost three-quarters!) of physicians are using smartphones for professional reasons. Of that 74%, 62% said they use smartphone apps for work. In addition, 52% said they use diagnostic tools and clinical reference apps and 46% use apps that help with drug and coding references. The study also found that almost 40 percent of the physicians studied use both a smartphone and a tablet. Here are a few other interesting facts found in the study:
- 43% use smartphones for referencing drug data
- 39% find or perform clinical calculations (which jumped 35% from 2011)
- 31% of doctors make decisions for prescriptions using a smartphone.
I’m sure I don’t need to convince most of you about the benefits of a physician not just being willing, but also knowing how, to use smartphones and tablets in their practice. I think it’s exciting to see that more and more are getting on board. A few months ago when I was visiting with a doctor, I had a question about whether or not I could take a certain medication while nursing my son. He pulled out a drug interactions book, and for about 10 minutes, tried to figure out whether or not it was okay, and ultimately told me he had no idea. When I got home, I was able to find the information I needed in less than 10 seconds.
I also wonder if we will see more patients bringing a tablet or smartphone to their appointment. On another occasion when I was at the doctor, the physician I was seeing told me she never received the records from my other doctor. I wished that I had brought my tablet, where I could have easily pulled up all my test results right there (which I did do a few weeks later, which the doctor thought was really cool.) Doing this could definitely help bridge the gap that sometimes appears when you have to rely on doctor’s offices sending records via fax.
While using a smartphone or tablet in the office does raise concerns about patient engagement, I think it is an overall positive situation seeing more and more physicians using smartphones. Now we just have to get everyone on board with the smartphone physical.