Study shows surge of tablet use among physicians

By Frank Irving
10:29 AM

More than 30 percent of physicians use tablet devices, compared to 5 percent of U.S. consumers, according to results of a study released June 16 by QuantiaMD, a mobile/online physician community. QuantiaMD surveyed more than 3,700 physicians for the study.

Among the physician tablet users, 20 percent said they use their tablets in clinical settings. Sixty-five percent of respondents indicated that they are likely to use a tablet within the next few years to help their practice. Twenty-five percent of respondents identified themselves as “Super Mobile” users – they own both smartphones and tablets. The super-users access online resources at significantly higher rates than physicians who only use either a tablet or a smartphone, according to the research.
According to the study report physicians would most like to use their mobile devices to access EMR data and for e-prescribing. Patient privacy and liability concerns rand among the top barriers to mobile use. Additionally, physicians are concerned about reimbursement for patient care and professional consulting activities when using mobile technology.
The study found that the vast majority of respondents purchased their mobile device personally or for their private practice. However, about 18 percent received their devices from the institutions for which they work. The report said that institutions that currently supply their physicians with mobile devices tend to provide smartphones and Blackberry devices, but 16 perecnt of respondents with institution-supplied devices were provided with a tablet.
“We were not surprised to see that 80 percent of the respondents -- a significantly higher percentage than the national average -- owned a mobile device, or that 44 percent of physicians who do not yet have a mobile device intend to purchase one in 2011,” said Mary Modahl, chief marketing officer at QuantiaMD. “What did surprise us was the momentum of tablets, which we knew to be strong, turned out to be even faster than we had originally expected. Also of interest was the growing role of institutions in supplying mobile devices and the fact that though a physician’s age is a slight barrier to smartphone adoption, tablet adoption has met with no age-related resistance.”