Epocrates has released the results of its fifth annual Future Physicians of America survey. As reported yesterday by Medgadget, the survey reached 700 medical students who answered myriad questions on their motivations to pursue a career in medicine and what resources they use for medical information. Epocrates, of course, is the maker of the popular mobile drug reference application of the same name as well as more in-depth disease references and a forthcoming mobile EHR application (see our March 2010 news item here).

The exact methodology for conducting the survey was not posted but within the supplied data, it is stated that a total of 710 responses were analyzed and that “Students [were] randomly selected to participate”. Click here to see Epocrates’ press release on the survey.

As with all surveys, results are necessarily skewed by selection bias. In this case the respondents all use Epocrates software and thus one would assume already demonstrate an increased interest in mobile medical apps compared to the total cohort of medical students. However, since the methodology has not changed over the last few years, one could also infer that trends within the cohort are reliable and may at least partially reflect trends within the larger group.

To download the complete results from the survey click here: PowerPoint

With that in mind, here are a few of the many interesting results:

  • cohort year in medical school – 4th year: 46% – 3rd year: 34% – 2nd year: 15% – 1st year: 5%
  • place you are most likely to turn for information increased over the last year for “mobile” from 19% to 34% while decreasing for internet from 52% to 33%
  • current smartphone usage was iPhone 69%, Blackberry 14% and Android 11%
  • 42% of respondents stated they are planning on buying a new device in the next year
  • of these, 64% were planning on purchasing iPhone (iOS) device, 24% Android and only 4% Blackberry
  • having an electronic health record is a very important factor for 70 percent of medical students in deciding where they will practice medicine.

Overall, the results show increasing use of mobile medical software. Blackberry seems to be losing interest among medical professionals, at least among medical students. We will be curious to follow the results of the survey in future years.