More Physicians Snapping up Media Tablets, Smartphones

July 1, 2011

A recent physician survey shows that iPads, iPhones, and Android smartphones are the most popular devices among doctors. What’s more, 30 percent of physicians use a media tablet device, compared with just five percent of U.S. consumers.

It’s not news anymore that wireless data is a hit among consumers, a population that includes physicians. What is news is the notion that physicians are actually purchasing certain mobile devices even more often than their non-physician peers. 

An online survey of 3,798 physicians conducted by QuantiaMD between May 5 and 12 reveals that iPads, iPhones, and Android smart phones are the most popular devices among doctors. What’s more, 30 percent of physicians use a media tablet device, compared with just five percent of U.S. consumers. Of these physicians who are tablet users, two-thirds, or 19 percent of all physicians, use their tablet in a clinical setting.

"We were not surprised to see that 80 percent of the respondents - a significantly higher percentage than the national average - owned a mobile device, or that 44 percent of physicians who do not yet have a mobile device intend to purchase one in 2011," said Mary Modahl, chief marketing officer of QuantiaMD, in a press statement. "What did surprise us was the momentum of tablets, which we knew to be strong, turned out to be even faster than we had originally expected. Also of interest was the growing role of institutions in supplying mobile devices and the fact that though a physician’s age is a slight barrier to smartphone adoption, tablet adoption has met with no age-related resistance."

Seventy-three percent of 2,985 responding physicians said looking up drug and treatment reference material was the most common professional activity for users with both a smartphone and a tablet.

QuantiaMD’s findings are consistent with what we’ve seen.

Nearly 18 percent of 1,400 physicians surveyed for Physicians Practice's 2010 Great American Physician Survey, in a poll that ran from March through May of last year, said they used tablet computers. And adoption continued at a rapid clip after that. In a separate survey of 2,206 physicians and other clinical workers in January and February 2011 by Physicians Practice's parent company, UBM Medica, 38.5 percent of respondents said they plan to buy an iPad or other media tablet this year.

Yet as the adoption mobile devices among physicians arise, there are still some roadblocks to maximum use, QuantiaMD’s surveyors found. Barriers include concerns about patient privacy and physician liability, and lack of financial reimbursement for physician time, said Modahl.

What kind of mobile devices are you using at your practice? Post your answer below.