Are You A Digital Omnivore?
By Katie Wike, contributing writer
Mobile devices remain popular in healthcare with tablets gaining on smartphones, and Apple losing market share
Smartphones have long been the mobile device of choice in healthcare, but Epocrates, a mobile reference materials vendor, has found most mobile users are “digital omnivores,” clinicians who utilize a tablet, smartphone, and laptop/desktop computer routinely in a professional capacity. Epocrates revealed this finding in its 2013 Mobile Trends Report which examined “the rapidly changing use of mobile technology by healthcare professionals.”
Epocrates explains, “Mobile devices continue to transform the work lives of physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, with more than four in five using smartphones every day. More than half of physicians affirm daily tablet use, as do about two in five nurse practitioners and physician assistants.”
Information Week notes the Epocrates report surveyed primary care doctors, cardiologists, oncologists, psychiatrists, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners and found most digital omnivores work in oncology (59 percent), cardiology (54 percent), and primary care (48 percent). Most of these providers use tablets to read medical journals, use professional resources, communicate with colleagues via email, and search the internet. There was also a marked increase in tablet use in EHRs, though 79 percent still use their desktops to take notes, write e-prescriptions, and make clinical reports.
“With the Affordable Care Act already in effect and implementation of key provisions impacting clinical workflows scheduled for 2014, mobile screens are poised to play an even more critical role in providing convenient access to information and helping to ease communications among colleagues and healthcare facilities,” reported Epocrates.
It’s no surprise tablets are gaining popularity as new products are introduced and apps are updated. A previous article from Healthcare Technology Online reported “physician adoption of tablets for professional purposes almost doubled compared to 2011, reaching 62 percent in 2012's survey (from Manhattan Research).” And in that survey iPad dominated its competition, a trend Information Week described as “an extension of the general market where the iPad is a dominant player.”
As more providers pick up tablets, however, more brands are being used and the market is opening up beyond Apple. In an article for Smartphone Healthcare, John Lynn, founder of HealthcareScene.com blog wrote, “I can definitely see a place for a Windows 8 tablet like the HP ElitePad in healthcare. I think this is particularly true in the hospital and practice environment where they want to use their existing security software to manage their computing devices.”
Epocrates concluded, “Digital omnivores are becoming the standard: connected, mobile-centric clinicians who show preference for mobile screens in all professional tasks and spend more time accessing digital information than their colleagues.”