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Tablets vs Smartphones for Physicians

doctor stands and points a tablet people watch him

According to a recent study by the advertising agency WPP’s Kantar Media 28% of physicians use tablets and 21% percent use smartphones to to read articles in medical journals. These numbers are low compared to 74 % that use a desktop or laptop computer and the 55% still reading paper journals. The survey results were the result of a questionnaire sent to physicians in 2013.

According to the results,  about 51% of physicians told Kantar they use a tablet device for professional purposes. While only 19% reported the use of a tablet device for personal use only. With 78% of those surveyed reporting the use of a smartphone for professional and personal tasks, and less than 1% reporting use for personal tasks only, the results show that the adoption rate was higher for smartphones.

smartphone

The study also showed that reading medical journals is one of the few tasks for which doctors are more likely to employ tablets than smartphones. Overall Kantar found that doctors are still more likely to use a smartphone than a tablet for professional tasks, including researching specific clinical situations and getting professional news updates.

Kantar also investigated application (app) use among physicians surveyed. Kantar found a significantly different list for smartphones than for tablets. For smartphone apps, 56% of doctors reported the use of diagnostic or clinical reference tools, 51% report the use of drug coding or reference apps, 37% reported the use of apps for medical journal, magazine, or newspaper access, and 31%t reported the use of workflow tools. In terms of tablet apps, though, 37% used medical journal, newspaper, or magazine apps, 30% of doctors used diagnostic or clinical reference apps, 27% used electronic medical record apps and 22% used drug and coding reference apps. Accessing the Internet and checking email, however, were still the top use cases for both tablets and smartphones.

Additionally, Kantar found that survey participants had downloaded an average of seven apps for professional or personal purposes in the past six months. Twenty-four percent had downloaded at least 10 apps in that time. Additional data analysis can be accessed in the original mobiehealthnews post on this survey.

Overall, these survey results provide a look into the use of mobile devices by physicians. It is clear that device adoption and app use continues to be import to those in the healthcare industry. As medical librarians look for ways to connect with physicians to better provide information services it is useful to consider how physicians are actually using the devices they have access to.

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