Eighty percent of physicians in a MedPage Today survey say technology has improved communication with their patients. That's significant, after a white paper from the American Hospital Association's Physician Leadership Forum recently named communication one of the biggest gaps in physician competency.
More than two-thirds of the 214 physicians surveyed spend three or more hours on a computer each day, and one in four spends more than three hours on a mobile device. Their number one reason to use both computers and mobile devices was to look up medical news, according to the survey, "Today's Physician: Managing Change."
It found little age variance in use of technology. Those 56 and older were somewhat more likely to use a computer in their medical practice (90 percent of older adults versus 86 percent for those younger). Older physicians were also less likely to use a smartphone (three in five of the over-56 doctors compared with four of five younger physicians). The percentage using handheld devices was about even (45 percent for the older group versus 46 percent for the younger), reported Medical Marketing and Media.
A Canadian survey by Ontario-based research firm Prism Healthcare Intelligence estimates the percentage of family docs using smartphones is growing from 55 percent in 2011 to 67 percent this year. Physicians used the technology to look up drug references (58 percent), access clinical decision-support (50 percent), take notes and memos (43 percent), dig into textbook references (38 percent), consult with medical peers (28 percent) and schedule tasks (17 percent).
And British physician website Doctors.uk.net recently reported younger docs find more value in mobile apps than their older counterparts.
The MedPage Today survey, designed to provide insight for marketers, also found physicians anxious about changes with the Supreme Court's recent decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. Nearly half (48 percent) said they expect to see a change in governance of their practice during the next five years, and one in 10 predicts going out of business within five years. They said they have less time to spend with each patient, to attend conferences, read journals and meet with pharmaceutical reps.