PharmExec Blog

Docs Get Smart with New Technology

Pri-Med, a provider of professional education solutions to a community of 235,000+ primary care physicians (PCPs), recently surveyed PCPs on their use of smartphones.

The results of a recent survey of more than 700 primary care physicians nationwide shed light on the current adoption rate of smartphone usage, how PCPs are using the devices, and who the heavy users are and how they differ from those who are less reliant on this mobile technology.
The survey showed that while younger doctors (35 and under) are outpacing their older counterparts (55 and older) at a rate of 80 percent smartphone ownership versus 59 percent respectively, the adoption rates of PCPs 55 and older are exceeding general consumer adoption of smartphones by more than a factor of two.

In terms of usage, more than 60 percent of physicians report using their smartphone to search online for clinical information, 45 percent use an application they downloaded for clinical information, and 55 percent are using a downloaded app such as a medical calculator, diagram, or other clinical tool.

While searches for clinical information dominate usage, early-adopter physicians also leverage smartphones for social media applications. Study data revealed that 36 percent of physicians access an online community via their mobile phone to connect with peers, with a smaller percentage using mobile-enabled communities to connect with patients.
Additionally, the general profile of physicians who rely on their smartphones daily differs both demographically and attitudinally from their less smartphone-reliant counterparts.

Daily users skew younger, comprise more internists, and are more likely to work in multi-physicians office practices. They also report seeing a higher-than-average number of patients, and, in keeping with their information-seeking mindset, are less restrictive to pharma reps in their practices. Daily users are also more likely to try the latest treatment options than non-daily users (65 percent versus 50 percent, respectively); and more likely to be peer influencers—they report that their colleagues often look to them for advice (47 percent versus 41 percent).

“These findings affirm the validity of the mobile channel as a platform for disseminating clinical information to increasingly time-stretched physicians,” says Lynne Bishop, research director at Pri-Med. “The trick, though, for application developers and healthcare companies reaching out to physicians via mobile devices, is to move beyond just delivering sporadic information—to engage physicians daily with relevant content and reliable tools.”

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