Taking the Pulse U.S. 2012 took a look at 3,015 practicing physicians across 25 specialties who were online in the first quarter of 2012. Among the key findings:
Tablets have become mainstream, and physician adoption for professional purposes almost doubled since 2011, reaching 62% in 2012's survey. Apple's iPad emerged as the dominant tablet platform, according to the study. In addition, one-half of tablet-owning physicians have used their device at the point-of-care.
The survey also revealed that physicians with three screens--tablets, smartphones, and desktops/laptops--tend to spend more time online on each device and go online more often during the workday than physicians who have only one or two screens.
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Adoption of physician-only social networks remained flat between 2011 and 2012, because physicians reach out more frequently to and are more influenced by colleagues they met at school or at work, compared to peers they first connected with online.
More than two-thirds of physicians, according to the study, use video to learn and keep up-to-date with clinical information.
Monique Levy, VP of research at Manhattan Research, said that while it's no surprise that more physicians are using digital devices, "The rate of growth is just remarkable. It accelerated a little bit quicker than we anticipated, but the direction is not a surprise," Levy told InformationWeek Healthcare.
She added that several factors drive this trend. "This technology fits like a glove ... There's been a gaping hole in having a capability for mobile, for a bigger mobile platform in a medical setting. It's the ideal use case for tablets," Levy said.
In regard to the popularity of Apple's iPad, Levy said that it's an extension of the general market where the iPad is a dominant player, adding that, "it is really suited for doctors in terms of graphics."
Levy said that there is less resistance to technology among doctors compared to a few years ago. "It used to be that you had to solve the problems of security access, validation, and data security first and then adopt, so what's happened is that the system has turned upside down, we're now at adoption first and solve the problem later," Levy said.
The main use of these devices, Levy said, is for information and to access lower-risk content. "But when we start to see these ramp ups for the transmission of actual ... patient data, you'll probably see some resistance and issues there."
The 2012 InformationWeek Healthcare IT Priorities Survey finds that grabbing federal incentive dollars and meeting pay-for-performance mandates are the top issues facing IT execs. Find out more in the new, all-digital Time To Deliver issue of InformationWeek Healthcare. (Free registration required.)