According to the 2012 National Physician Survey conducted by Sharecare*, a social health and wellness network, doctors’ use of mobile technology for electronic health records (EHRs) and e-prescribing is steadily increasing. The survey results show that physicians are starting to realize the many benefits that these new tools have to offer, and the myriad of ways doctors can use smartphones and tablets in the healthcare industry make growth of this technology inevitable.
The National Physician Survey shows that one in three physicians currently use laptops, while about 20 percent of doctors in the U.S. use smartphones to prescribe medications or access electronic medical records (EMRs) and other data. The survey also found that only about 12 percent of doctors use iPads® for those same tools, while nine percent use other types of tablets. When communicating with patients, more than 90 percent of physicians still use the telephone, but online communication is also being used in some circumstances.
These findings demonstrate that although computers are still the most widely-used tools—almost always used when physicians are e-prescribing or viewing EMRs—both specialty care providers and primary care doctors are slowly making the shift to adapting smartphones, iPads and other tablets for clinical purposes.
Survey feedback shows that this shift may be occurring at a slower pace than technology adoption in other industries because doctors report feeling overwhelmed, and are now “practicing in a healthcare environment that they never could have predicted much less prepared for,” says Keith Steward, MD, and senior vice president of medical affairs at Sharecare. Furthermore, technology didn’t always fit into a doctors’ workflow in the past, as it wasn’t as easy as it is now to use newer technology.
However, physicians are beginning to realize that technology, specifically mobile technology, has immense benefits for both their work schedule and as well their care of patients. Doctors are realizing they can use apps via smartphones, iPads and other tablets to prescribe electronically, access patient records, communicate with patients and also provide online education, no matter where the physician is—at work, at home or on-the-go.
Both the Care360 Mobile app and the Care360 HD iPad® app for physicians are user-friendly and easy to learn– two things that will help eliminate that overwhelmed feeling. The apps allow doctors to safely and securely access patient information at any time, and offer mobility for physicians both inside and outside the office.
Adoption of these types of technology is encouraged because they are helping to change the delivery of care. Physicians now have the option to connect with their patients, nurses and other healthcare providers anytime, anywhere through technology, which will give them an advantage over paper-based physician offices and allow them to provide enhanced patient care.
*Sharecare is an interactive, social Q&A platform that allows people to ask, learn and act upon questions of health and wellness. It was launched in 2010 and is based in Atlanta, GA.