Survey: Clinicians Rapidly Increase Mobile Adoption

Clinicians continue in 2013 to adopt mobile computing devices at a rapid rate, with nearly 90 percent expected to use smartphones in 2014 and almost as many using tablets. That’s the takeaway from medical content vendor Epocrates in its 2nd annual Mobile Trends Report based on a survey of 1,063 clinicians from its market research panel in May 2013. The survey included more than 200 respondents from each of five clinician types: physician assistant/nurse practitioner, primary care, cardiology, oncology and psychiatry. Here is a look at the results.

Big Expectations Big Expectations

Epocrates labels clinicians who routinely use a tablet, smartphone and laptop/desktop computer as “digital omnivores” and notes that 47 percent of responding clinicians were in this group, up from 28 percent in its 2012 survey. The vendor expects upwards of 80 percent of clinicians to use the three platforms within the next year. Surveyed primary care physicians, at a 47 percent rate now, are projected by Epocrates to hit 85 percent next year. Physician assistants (30 percent now) and nurse practitioners (40 percent) could reach the mid-70s in 2014.

Top Uses for Mobile Devices Top Uses for Mobile Devices

The majority of surveyed physicians continue to use laptops or desktops for charting and other electronic health records interaction, but half who own a tablet also use that device for EHR management and other clinical documentation. Overall, mobile devices are used much more for a litany of other tasks, such as communicating with colleagues, reading journal materials, visiting medical content sites, continuing medical education, email and e-detailing activities.

Homework Aid Homework Aid

Mobile devices account for up to 40 percent of surveyed clinicians’ digital time at work, but outside the office tablets and smartphones rule between 5:00 in the evening to 5:00 in the morning.

Bottom Dwellers Bottom Dwellers

On the low end of mobile computing use, with about a 2 percent usage rate, are activities such as texting a colleague, lab requests/results, entering consult notes, accessing patient materials, remote patient monitoring, scheduling and getting information from a drug manufacturer.

Docs Ahead of the Technology Docs Ahead of the Technology

Eighty percent of surveyed physicians’ practices have implemented an EHR and 60 percent of those who have not expect to during the next year. But only one-third of clinicians with an EHR say it is optimized for mobile use. “Industry stakeholders such as EHR providers, pharmaceutical companies, technology firms and content owners must now determine how best to leverage this groundswell of behavioral input to inform product development and marketing programs that support providers in successfully embracing these rapidly evolving models of health care,” Epocrates concludes.


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