European docs trail U.S. docs for smartphone ownership

Research comparing the use of mobile devices by healthcare professionals in Europe and the U.S. finds that European doctors lag behind their American counterparts when it comes to smartphone ownership.

According to survey results, smartphone ownership among healthcare professionals in the U.S. has grown from 81 percent in 2010 to 91 percent in 2012, while ownership among HCPs in Europe rose from 44 percent in 2010 to 81 percent in 2012. In addition, a significantly higher proportion of doctors in the U.S. (83 percent) than in Europe (19 percent) who currently do not have a smartphone expect to have one within six months. Should that happen, smartphone penetration in the U.S. will reach almost 100 percent, the report concludes.

The study, which was conducted between August 2010 and October 2012 by the U.K.-based EPG Health Media, is a follow-on investigation to a 2010 study into mobile device use in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. Two years ago, EPG research showed that HCPs in Europe lagged significantly behind those in the U.S. in adopting mobile devices, as well.

At the time, this was attributed to a shortage in supply of services and products in the European market. EPG supported this claim with research from Forrester, which concluded that economic woes "almost certainly had an impact. "Factors like higher smartphone penetration, competitive data plans, higher post-pay subscriber penetration, and the faster rollout of 4G networks and handsets in the U.S. than in Western Europe help explain this difference," as well, the report states.

Nevertheless, an online survey of medical students and junior doctors in the U.K. indicates widespread use of smartphones and medical related apps. According to the survey results, published Oct. 30 in journal BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 79 percent of medical students and 74.8 percent of junior doctors owned a smartphone, with 56.6 percent of students and 68.4 percent of doctors owning an iPhone.

To learn more:
- read the abstract