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How and Why Physicians Are Using iPads

Posted by | 9:50am on Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Doctors indicated strong interest in being able to access electronic medical records (EMRs) through the iPad 

Professionals across the healthcare industry, doctors in particular, are enthusiastically adopting iPads. In 2011, only one year after launch, 30% of U.S. physicians own an iPad and an additional 28% plan to purchase one within the next six months. This is in addition to the 81% of U.S. physicians who own a smartphone. This data is from the latest Manhattan Research survey of 2,041 US practicing physicians, Taking the Pulse® U.S. v11.0, and reinforces other studies that show physicians prefer the Apple device over a Windows-based tablet.

Adoption has been helped by major institutions, such as Stanford University School of Medicine, giving iPads to medical students and other physicians. An American Medical News article says the iPad has “the right combination of ease of use, size, portability, long-lasting battery power and relatively low cost of adoption. For physicians, that meant adopting a technology that was the next best thing to paper charts, for a price that didn’t break the bank.”

Personal or Professional Use?
I had the opportunity to talk to Monique Levy, Vice President of Research at Manhattan Research, and asked if the iPads were being used primarily for work. “There is a lot of overlap, but certainly this is a work device,” said Levy. I questioned whether the iPad is overtaking the use of the smartphone in the office. “For quick tasks, such as looking up a drug, physicians are still using their smartphones,” noted Levy. “The iPad is for the more complex tasks when you need a bigger screen, such as writing medical notes or accessing electronic medical records.”

Physicians are seeing this as a device that can do a whole group of functions. “The smartphone has limitations, but this gives an avenue to do other things such as remote patient monitoring, viewing images, looking at patient results and using it as a learning tool with patients,” Levy explained.

Supporting EMR Adoption
Doctors indicated strong interest in being able to access electronic medical records (EMRs) through the iPad. “If physicians are motivated by a platform that is easy to carry around and will help them do their job easier, it will motivate the adoption of EMRs. In some practices you can see the device really helping work flow,” said Levy.

The study also found that the affinity to Apple continues when it comes to smartphones, with the iPhone as the number one platform used by U.S. physicians.

I look forward to seeing the next study from Manhattan Research on physicians’ impressions of pharmaceutical sales reps and medical device reps using iPads during their in-office details.

(Image courtesy of Yutaka Tsutano on Flickr).

About Eileen O'Brien

Eileen has more than 16 years of digital healthcare marketing experience. She is an opinion leader on social media and biopharma, and has been invited to speak at industry conferences and quoted in publications.

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  • http://Www.ChilmarkResearch.com John Moore

    Manhattan’s Research seems to confirm our own, which we published in November 2010, mHealth in the Enterprise Report. In our study we forecasted 22% physician adoption of iPad by end of 2010. We also went on to forecast market saturation for touch-screen tablets among physicians in the US by end of 2014.

    The challenge though, which our research uncovered, was that while physicians would like to access the EMR via their iPad, that capability is lacking today with most hospitals providing such access via Citrix, which is far from an ideal user experience. EMR vendors are working hard to address this issue but we won’t see native touch-screen Apps till end of 2011.

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