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Survey of Physicians Suggests Tablets More Useful Than Smartphones

Two reports from AmericanEHR Partners based on a survey of nearly 1,400 physicians suggests that tablets are of greater use for clinical purposes than smartphones.

The reports reveal that the most common activity of physicians who use an electronic health record (EHR) and use a smartphone or tablet is “sending and receiving emails.” The second most frequent activity among tablet users is accessing EHRs (51 percent daily). Just 7 percent of physicians use their smartphone to access EHRs. Among physicians who have an EHR, 75 percent use a smartphone and 33 percent use a tablet, but time spent on tablets is 66 percent higher than time spent on smartphones.

“These two reports provide useful insights into how physicians use technology to interact with patients, physician satisfaction with mobile devices and apps, and the differences of technology use within various user demographics,” said Thomas Stringham, co-founder of AmericanEHR Partners, which provides comprehensive information to support clinicians in the selection and use of EHRs to improve health care delivery.

The top market share position is held by Apple, with 55 percent of physicians using smartphones and 54 percent using tablets. Clinical app usage in a medical practice was much higher among smartphone users (51 percent daily) than tablet users (30 percent daily). The top five smartphone apps used in a medical practice were Epocrates, Medscape, MedCalc, Skyscape, and Doximity. The top five tablet apps used in a medical practice were Epocrates, Medscape, Up To Date, MedCalc, and Skyscape.

Only 28 percent of smartphone users and 18 percent of tablet users were “very satisfied” with the quality of apps for their profession.

“As the adoption of mobile devices increases, so do the expectations of clinical users,” Stringham said. “The health IT sector and app developers have an opportunity to improve the quality and usefulness of clinical mobile apps.”

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