Tablets, Medical Apps on the Rise at Practices

December 1, 2011

From mobile apps to media tablets, a new survey confirms that physicians are increasingly embracing wireless technologies.

From mobile apps to media tablets, a new survey confirms that physicians are increasingly embracing wireless technologies. 

According to a survey of 350 physicians, primarily from solo or group practices, by nonprofit IT association CompTIA, one out of four healthcare providers said they are currently using tablets at their practice. Another 21 percent said they expect to do so in the next 12 months.

Smartphones, which have been around longer, are used for work purposes by more than half of all medical professionals surveyed. And a whopping two-thirds of providers surveyed said implementing or improving their use of mobile technologies is a high- or mid-level priority in the next 12 months.

Physicians Practice did its own research on device use, which yielded similar results: According to our 2011 Technology Survey, nearly 20 percent of 1,017 respondents from practices said at least one physician at their practice uses a media tablet.

Tim Herbert, vice president of research for CompTIA, said the numbers don’t surprise him.

“We have seen the numbers creeping up,” Herbert told Physicians Practice, adding that the primary uses of media tablets are still mainly “routine tasks such as e-mail, scheduling, viewing news.”

Just one-third of tablet users are using a tablet to access their EHR, he added.

In tandem with media tablets, medical apps are also gaining traction with physicians and patients. The CompTIA survey indicated that 38 percent of physicians with a mobile device capable of supporting applications use med-related apps on a daily basis.

Speaking of medical apps, the American Medical Association (AMA) recently introduced its second app designed to allow patients to store, carry and share their medical information. The app, now available through the iTunes store for 99 cents, also allows patients to maintain a list of their medical team’s contact information.

“What’s interesting is just the variety of uses [of apps],” said Herbert. “There’s a lot of interesting innovation in this area, and I do think it certainly will continue to grow.”