Report: Physicians Now See Smartphones, Tablet PCs as Essential

— August 09, 2010

Posted: August 9, 2010

A recent study from Manhattan Research has found that 71 percent of physicians consider a smartphone essential to their practice and 84 percent said that the Internet is critical to their jobs.

"Physicians are seeking ways to improve efficiency," said Monique Levy, a senior director with Manhattan Research. Smartphones allow doctors to check e-mail, use mobile applications and surf the Web, and also lead to collaboration between physicians and patients, Levy said. She made her comments at the World Congress' Summit on mHealth in late July.

The use of mobile devices in health care has expanded in the past five years and will continue to grow as U.S. smartphone use increases,  Harry Wang, director of mobile and health research at Park Associates, said at the summit.

Another report issued earlier this year from Manhattan Associates revealed that physicians "will significantly expand the range of activities," they conduct on mobile devices by 2012.

The study released in March said currently physicians primarily use mobile devices primarily to access clinical content and perform quick tasks. By 2012, though, physician smartphone adoption is expected to reach 81% penetration and about half of this group will use their devices for administrative functions, learning, and patient care.

One other indication of the growing reliance on mHealth is at Stanford Medical School where all first-year medical and Master of Medicine students are being provided an iPad this fall.

Wang acknowledged there are obstacles to be addressed before wireless health care moves forward. He has cited a lack of standards, the need for more safety regulations and the need for more marketing to both doctors and patients. The greatest challenge will be aligning the interests of stakeholders like health care providers, patients and hospitals, he said.

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