The lives of physicians and other clinicians are, in general, quite busy. Mobile technology offers a lot of opportunity to make day-to-day work more efficient, whether its getting your notes done or reviewing imaging on the go. A new survey suggests that continuing education is another area where physicians are embracing mobile.

A survey by San Francisco-based ON24 and Boston-based MedData Group explored which particular aspects of mobile technology appeal to physicians. In effect, the survey was trying to measure their digital behavior, how they actually use mobile technology.

According to the Joint Survey of Physician Digital Behavior — which queried 971 physicians about their online behavior and use of technology like an iPhone — 84% of doctors would prefer to attend events such as continuing medical education (CME) training online.

However, only 6.4% say that they actually participate in virtual events “very often”, and only 18.5% participate in them “often”. Some of the additional findings of the survey include:

  • 75.5% of the respondents realized that virtual events and webcasts are increasing in number and popularity
  • 91% of the respondents saw benefits to being able to attend more conferences, meetings, and CME events virtually
  • 35% of the respondents said that accepting the use virtual events can lead to overall improved patient care
  • 80% of the respondents said that viewing on-demand content at their leisure was a benefit of attending conferences and meetings virtually
  • 53% agreed that engaging in more virtual events would help to avoid unnecessary travel
  • 63% of respondents said that early evening is the most convenient time of the day to attend a live virtual event or webcast

One of the most interesting findings of the survey was that physicians seem to embrace the idea of virtual conferences, webinars, and other remote activities. However, physicians do not engage in those activities with quite the same enthusiasm, with about a quarter of respondents saying they participate at least “often.”

As Bill Reinstein, president and CEO of MedData Group points out,

“The adoption rate is still relatively low among physicians for these types of digital events. Yet for those who have seen the benefits from these events, there is a special opportunity gap that is bringing the rest of the community into the fold.”

The acceptance of this modality as a learning platform may bode well for telehealth. As we have previously examined, telehealth is a growing towards becoming a billion dollar industry. Physicians seem to be amenable to use of this technology for their continuing education, which suggests at least some level of comfort that may translate to its use in telehealth.

Dr. Brian Schwartz, a cardiologist with Wellesley Primary Care Medicine in Wellesley, Massachusetts, commented on the inevitability of virtual meetings and overall telehealth.

“Some of the technology is becoming increasingly mandated, such as the use of electronic records and electronic billing. The way you have to run your practice now is electronic. Physicians are realizing the positive spinoff from technology, such as the ability to do online education [and] communicate with patients electronically, and they are starting to embrace that as a tool.”

Source: InformationWeek