At iMedicalApps, we’re always wary of physician surveys that claim to predict mobile use. We even did a feature article highlighting how sampling bias could be inflating the numbers of many of these surveys.

With that said, Bulletin Healthcare just released a survey based on a large sample size of physicians, using the following methods:

The analysis, based on the reading habits of more than 550,000 healthcare providers, including more than 400,000 physicians who subscribe to Bulletin Healthcare’s daily email briefings, focused on mobile device usage between June 1, 2010 and February 28, 2011.

While the report went on to talk about the increased usage of mobile devices by physicians, with Apple continuing to dominate the market — the iPhone and iPad had a more than 90% share of physician use — we were more interested by the intriguing comparison of physician mobile use by speciality.

Their survey found that Emergency Medicine physicians and cardiologists were the highest users of mobile devices and content, while Pathologists and Oncologists were the lowest. Of note, the survey looked at specialists, not primary care. Emergency Medicine physicians had more than double the usage of mobile technology than Pathologists, 40% verse 16%.

Anecdotally, I’ll be going into my Emergency Medicine residency starting in July, and my specialty has some of the most prolific users of mobile technology — John Halamka, featured in the iPad 2 keynote speech, is himself a practicing Emergency Medicine physician.

While it makes sense pathologists would be lower consumers of mobile, since they are usually in a lab setting and have desktop computers readily available, we were surprised by the low consumption of mobile by Oncologists. There are a plethora of mobile apps for Oncologists, many centered around patient education, and we thought oncologists would be utilizing these apps. However, the low level of consumption by oncologists could also be a sign that quality apps are lacking.

Emergency Room Physicians – 40%
Cardiologists – 33%
Urologists – 31%
Nephrologists – 31%
Dermatologists – 30%
Gastroenterologists – 30%
Psychiatrists – 28%
Optometrists – 28%
Radiologists – 24%
Rheumatologists – 22%
Endocrinologists – 21%
Oncologists – 20%
Clinical Pathologists – 16%

Source: Pharma Live & Bulletin Healthcare