According to a Jackson and Coker report, four out of five practicing physicians use smartphones, computer tablets, and other mobile devices during the course of their workday.

These doctors are accessing a variety of medically related apps such as those that allow access to a patient’s EHR. This equates to about 80% of all doctors.

The report, Apps, Doctors, and Digital Devices, relied on research from several studies that investigated the use of smartphones, mobile computing devices such as the iPhone and iPad, and a wide variety of software apps by physicians in different specialties.

“The common thread is that physicians in all specialties–especially more recent graduates–are relying more and more on modern technology to advance their concern to provide medical care more efficiently, cost effectively, and ‘creatively’ through digital instruments that are readily available,” Edward McEachern, Jackson & Coker’s VP of marketing, told InformationWeek Healthcare. “What this indicates in terms of future trends is that mobile device manufacturers and companies that supply app solutions are well aware of the growing market in the healthcare field for their products and services.”

The various breakdowns by specialties are as follows:

  • Emergency department physicians: 40%
  • Cardiologists: 33%
  • Urologists: 31%
  • Nephrologists: 31%
  • Dermatologists: 30%
  • Gastroenterologists: 30%
  • Psychiatrists: 28%
  • Radiologists: 24%
  • Rheumatologists: 22%
  • Endocrinologists: 21%
  • Oncologists: 20%
  • Clinical pathologists: 16%

The Apps, Doctors, and Digital Devices report also noted that there are separate medical categories in both the Apple App Store as well as the Android Market. However, the imedicalapps team has previously commented on the drawbacks and limitations of both medical sections. These separate categories have been created due to the rising popularity of this niche app segment.

Furthermore, the report also discussed the increasing security concerns with accessing sensitive medical information on mobile devices. As more information becomes available via mobile devices, the report claims that the burden will be placed on physicians and healthcare providers to make sure that the manner in which they protect, access and share information is in compliance with HIPPA law.

Not only do the devices have to be secure from hackers trying to gain sensitive data, but also from computer viruses.

“With physicians and healthcare professionals eager to integrate these digital tools into their workflows, hospital administrators and information technology professionals are scrambling to make sure that the devices can integrate in a manner consistent with the security protocols to which the hospitals and practices are beholden.”

The report also mentions that in the future, mobile devices will become more pervasive in medical settings, not only as a tool to access medical information, but also as a device that will be integrated with other clinical systems to help the physician perform their tasks.

“Over the course of the examination, networked medical tools automatically record the patient’s vital signs; and at the end of the examination, the physician schedules a follow-up, schedules lab tests, enters billing codes, and prescribes medication for the patient … all within minutes from the same tablet. Most of these things are already possible, but the future of medical apps and mobile devices will integrate all of these tasks seamlessly.”

Source: InformationWeek