Smartphones catch on with docs of all ages--for now

So, apparently, you can teach old docs new tricks. An Epocrates executive reports that the average age of that company's mobile drug database is 45. "It isn't just the younger clinician anymore who is using the smartphone," Michelle Snyder tells HealthLeaders Media. Indeed, Manhattan Research reported in April that some 64 percent of U.S. physicians are using smartphones, more than double the rate of a year earlier.

"I think [smartphones] will be used more and more, especially by younger generation docs," says Colorado primary care physician Dr. Michelle Eads. "I think even older physicians are going to start using it as they see their kids and grandkids playing with them and are exposed to the medical applications that are available." Clearly, the iPhone and the Apple App Store has had a lot to do with this trend. So has the oft-cited desire to consolidate the many gadgets doctors have had to carry in recent years, according to HealthLeaders. Eads believes physicians will adopt smartphones long before they embrace EMRs.

But this upward arc may start to plateau unless insurers start reimbursing physicians for their time. "We have to change our payment mechanism, be more responsive to delivery methods that are more efficient, and reward physicians for using those methods," says Dr. Sean Khozin, a young, mobile internist in New York City. "If a doctor wants to video chat with patients, the insurance company should pay for that."

For more ways in which physicians are embracing smartphones:
- see this HealthLeaders Media story