Smartphones, medical apps used by 80 percent of docs

Four out of five practicing physicians use smartphones, computer tablets, various mobile devices and numerous apps in their medical practice, according to a new report from Jackson & Coker.

“Tech-savvy physicians, especially recent graduates, increasingly rely on digital and Internet-based tools to communicate with patients and improve the medical outcomes of the care they provide,” said Sandra Garrett, president of Jackson & Coker.

[See also: Smartphones gain appeal with more docs]

The report, titled “Apps, Doctors and Digital Devices,” presented the results of several recent studies that investigated the use of smartphones, mobile computing devices and a wide variety of software apps by physicians in different specialties.

Here is the study’s breakdown of physician specialists’ usage of digital technology in medical practice:

  • Emergency Room physicians – 40 percent 
   
  • Cardiologists – 33 percent 
    
  • Urologists – 31 percent 
    
  • Nephrologists – 31 percent 
    
  • Dermatologists – 30 percent 
    
  • Gastroenterologists – 30 percent
   
  • Psychiatrists – 28 percent 
    
  • Radiologists – 24 percent
    
  • Rheumatologists – 22 percent
    
  • Endocrinologists – 21 percent 
    
  • Oncologists – 20 percent 
    
  • Clinical Pathologists –16 percent

The report cites recent studies that pointed out the practical value of integrating the latest digital hardware and software into healthcare delivery. It’s not surprising that so many practitioners are relying on iPhones, iPads and other computer tablets – as well as downloading a myriad of apps – given the growing movement toward “digitizing as much of the health care process as possible,” the report notes.

[See also: Smartphone apps make healthcare splash]

The study also addresses security and privacy concerns associated with honoring HITECH and HIPAA protocols. As a crucial preventative measure, some hospitals require medical staff to limit software use to read-only access to patient information while prohibiting storing such information.   

As digital devices put more critical information in the hands of physicians, “the potential applications are virtually limitless,” it concludes.

The report can be accessed here.