Young docs can't imagine practicing without mHealth technology

Young physicians' willingness to embrace mobile health technology is also giving them more flexibility, including to have lives outside their hospitals and medical practices, the Associated Press reports.

Examples in the article include Emal Nasiri, 32, a University of Oklahoma resident in Tulsa who "can't imagine working without his iPad," according to the AP. Nasiri says hospital rounds are more efficient with an iPad, which he uses to quickly access patient charts through their electronic health records and retrieve drug information online.

Technology improves efficiency, Nasiri tells the AP, meaning that "spending less time doesn't necessarily mean less dedication or worse patient care."

Leana Wen, 29, is a resident in emergency medicine at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital who "finds her smartphone as handy as her stethoscope." She uses mobile health apps to figure out dosages of medicine and translate instructions to Spanish, among other uses, according to the article.

Federal healthcare reform, including the incentivized push toward EHRs, is helping mobile technology-savvy young doctors find a better work-life balance than their older peers, the article suggests.

"It's a fortunate accident," economist and health policy expert Robert Reischauer says, according to the AP. "The two will reinforce each other."

In response to the explosion in mobile health apps, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society recently drafted guidance to help medical practices assess the usability of mobile apps. Providers should first figure out what they want an app to do, then check market reviews to see which apps measure up, HIMSS says.

Two out of every three family physicians use smartphones, according to a recent survey. They're looking up drug references, using clinical decision-support tools, taking notes and checking textbook references, among other tasks.

To learn more:
- read the AP article