Android devices may have a market-share edge among consumers, but among physicians and other healthcare providers, Apple's iPhone and iPad still hold a commanding lead over all competing platforms, including Android, RIM and Palm, according to a new analysis by Bulletin Healthcare.
The analysis, based on the reading habits of more than 550,000 healthcare providers, including more than 400,000 physicians who subscribe to Bulletin Healthcare's daily email briefings, focused on mobile device usage between June 1, 2010, and February 28, 2011. Reaching the members of two-dozen leading medical associations each day, with a combined audience of roughly half of the practicing physicians in the U.S., Bulletin Healthcare is in a unique position to gauge how physicians access electronically delivered medical information.
Examining the proportion of briefings accessed on mobile devices, the analysis indicates that mobile consumption of medical news climbed by 45 percent between June and February. The result is that almost three in 10 healthcare professionals now access the daily medical information contained in their briefings on mobile platforms, while seven in 10 continue to use traditional desktop platforms. Based on current trends, Bulletin Healthcare expects that ratio to continue to swing strongly in the direction of mobile usage.
"Despite Apple's longer tenure in the marketplace, we were surprised by the wide margin between Apple devices and others," said Bill Mulderry, president of Bulletin Healthcare. "Combined, the iPhone and iPad grabbed more than 90 percent share of use in February, while Android saw only 6 percent use, and other platforms like RIM and Palm barely registered."
But just as important as Apple's dominance, according to Mulderry, was the change in share among platforms: iPhone use fell to 79 percent, from 86 percent last June, while iPad share nearly doubled to 14 percent in February, up from 8 percent in June. Devices based on Google's Android operating system – which, according to The Nielsen Company, recently surpassed Apple's offerings in share of the consumer smartphone market – more than doubled their share between June and February.
Also of interest were differences in mobile-device use between practitioners in various medical specialties. "We assumed that specialty-based segments of the medical community might differ in their media habits and use mobile devices to varying degrees," said Mike Donatello, vice president of research at Bulletin Healthcare parent company Bulletin News, LLC. "Still, we were surprised to find a threefold range in mobile-device use, between emergency physicians and physician assistants on the high end, and clinical pathologists on the low end."
Bulletin Healthcare found usage among specific specialties to be:
Physician Assistants – 41 percent
Emergency Room Physicians – 40 percent
Cardiologists – 33 percent
Urologists – 31 percent
Nephrologists – 31 percent
Dermatologists – 30 percent
Gastroenterologists – 30 percent
Psychiatrists – 28 percent
Optometrists – 28 percent
Radiologists – 24 percent
Rheumatologists – 22 percent
Endocrinologists – 21 percent
Oncologists – 20 percent
Clinical Pathologists – 16 percent
"The analysis suggests a number of opportunities for further research on the value of mobile information to medical professionals," said Donatello. "We hope to leverage Bulletin Healthcare's unique relationship with this commanding audience to provide insight of value to both providers and the businesses that serve the medical market."