Residents using smartphones more than established docs

The future of medicine is on smartphones, according to a new survey by Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

The group just surveyed 3,000 residents and found that while smartphone ownership rates are about the same for younger vs. older physicians (88 percent for residents, 78 percent for attending physicians), nearly 70 percent of residents are using their smartphones for clinical purposes, compared to just under 40 percent for physicians who have been in practice for 15 years or more.

"[T]his confirms the intuitive prediction that younger physicians are using smartphones [and likely other mobile technology] at higher rates and are likely to carry this forward as they become practicing physicians," iMedicalApps blogger Satish Misra writes.

For hospital CIOs, it means the need to establish a solid mobile strategy will become crucial as time goes on, and more new physicians join your medical staff.

Right now, the apps residents are most commonly using (and most likely to want when they begin formal practice) include:

  • Drug guides (79 percent);
  • Medical calculators (18 percent);
  • Coding and billing apps (4 percent); 
  • Pregnancy wheels (4 percent).

The apps residents most frequently request include reference materials (55 percent), treatment algorithms (46 percent) and general medical knowledge (43 percent), the survey finds.

Despite residents' interest in using clinical apps, problems with quality remain a major barrier to increased adoption.

"We have demonstrated an absence of high-quality and popular apps despite a strong desire among physicians and trainees," the study's authors write. "[E]xpanded app functionality is almost certain, but reliability and ease of use will likely remain major factors in determining the successful integration of apps into clinical practice."

To learn more:
- read the iMedicalApps piece
- check out the Journal of Medical Systems summary

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