A recent study published in the Journal of Mobile Technologies in Medicine has shared some interesting insights into how orthopedic surgeons and trainees use mobile technology in their daily practice. The study, performed by Dr. James Churchill, consisted of a survey sent out to orthopaedic surgeons in Australia across various levels of training and practice1.
As it turns out, Australian orthopaedists are prolific users of mobile technologies. Over 95% of respondents use a smartphone and more than half had a tablet. This survey, like many other similar studies, was administered via email and could be subject to selection bias2. It’s also worth noting that the majority of surveys were completed by physicians between the age of 28-40, an age group that tends towards more high-frequency use of mobile technology.
The article had several surprising findings. Most of the 92 respondents noted that communication with colleagues was their main use of mobile technology. They were also very interested in reviewing and communicating about imaging studies with mobile apps. 86% of respondents expected to use mobile technology more in their practice in the future. There was a strong sense of increased productivity through mobile app technologies in orthopaedics.
This study has important implications for mobile technology use in the United States of America. More orthopaedic apps could be developed to facilitate communication between physicians and apps that incorporate imaging viewing features could be beneficial to orthopaedic surgeons. Although a similar study has not been performed with orthopaedic surgeons in the USA, we are likely to have a high rate of smartphone and tablet usage, and our utilization of this technology also seems to correlate with younger age. This study shows that orthopaedic communication, professional development, productivity and patient care throughout Australia can be enhanced with mobile technologies. Future studies looking at orthopaedic utilization of mobile technologies will help direct and enhance the orthopaedic care of patients in the USA.