53 Percent of Physicians Use a Smartphone, Tablet and Computer at Work

Doctors are clearly embracing new technology, if the results of a recent survey are representative of the nation as a whole. Epocrates, a mobile reference material vendor, has recently conducted a survey on 1,063 mid-level practitioners and physicians asking them about the use of mobile devices in the workplace.

The survey results show a marked increase in the usage of all mobile devices, with a particularly telling statistic being the percentage of doctors who are using all three types of device categorized in the study: Smartphones, tablets and desktop/laptops. These “digital omnivores” as they are referred to in the study have increased from 28% in 2012 to 53% this year.

As more healthcare providers implement BYOD schemes, or provide the devices to healthcare professionals, the number of digital omnivores in healthcare is expected to increase, and significantly so according to Epocrates researchers. They predict the number will grow to 82% over the course of the coming year.

Oncologists Most Likely to use Smartphones, Tablets and Desktops at Work

Oncologists were the most tech-dependent healthcare professionals, with 59% using all three types of device. Cardiologists were also heavy mobile device users, with 54% using a tablet and a Smartphone in addition to a desktop or laptop. In primary care the figure was 48%, while 44% of psychiatrists used all three and 40% of NPs. Only 30% of PAs used said they used all three devices in the workplace.

Previous surveys have indicated Smartphone usage was high in healthcare. Smartphones were used by the majority of the 80% of physicians who said they used mobile devices in hospitals and during work hours, but now it is the tablet that is becoming popular. Tablet usage stood at 53% this year, increasing from 34% the year before. Tablets are also becoming better connected. Out of the physicians that used them, 49% said they used theirs to interact with their EHRs. 71% said they used a desktop or a laptop for that purpose. 86% of physicians said they use a Smartphone at work.

Healthcare Industry Unprepared for BOYD and Smartphone Use

Even though device usage is high, healthcare providers do not appear to be doing enough to adapt to the new methods of accessing information and communicating. Only a third of respondents believed their organization had optimized their systems for mobile device use.

Only when healthcare providers provide the necessary technical support to facilitate mobile device usage will they be able to take full advantage of the benefits and cost savings the devices offer.

The survey said “Tablet and smartphone usage accounts for upwards of 40% of a typical clinician’s digital time at work. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners express the biggest preference for using mobile devices during the day.”

Those organizations that have allowed the use of mobiles – 85% of healthcare providers have a BYOD scheme in operation according to an Aruba Networks –study, only 24% said the devices had unlimited access, while the entire network was accessible via mobiles in only 8% of cases. The majority of healthcare providers operated very strict controls over what could be performed on the devices.

Author: Steve Alder has many years of experience as a journalist, and comes from a background in market research. He is a specialist on legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA. Steve holds a B.Sc. from the University of Liverpool.