USphysicians mainly use computers in their work, but the use of mobile devices is becoming more widespread. Tablets especially are gaining in popularity, although actual usage does not currently match the expressed preference among doctors.
Computers remain US physicians’ favourite means of accessing the Internet. However according to the findings of a new study* on physician online behaviour just published by comScore, the Virginia, USA-based leader in measuring the digital world,andSymphony Health Care Professional (HCP), a company which focuses on conveying value through information to the life sciences and healthcare industries, together with the Physician Mobile Survey**, a majority of doctors are showing increasing interest in using mobile technologies such as smartphones and tablets in the workplace. The Physician Mobile Survey found that more than three quarters of physicians use their PCs on a daily basis to go online to access health information. However the results showed a significant increase in the use of mobile devices, a finding which should encourage marketeers to take on board the behavioural shifts taking place in this sector.
Actual tablet usage lags expressed preference
The results showed that a significant 60% of the 315 doctors most recently polled reported using mobile phones every day, with 62% of these confirmed mobile users indicating they need their device to “stay in contact with their job”. When it comes to tablet devices, only 44% said they use them on a daily basis. However, although smartphones have already carved out a niche for themselves in helping doctors to obtain rapid access to medical information, tablet use is also increasing fast and the outlook is promising: some 64% of the physicians interviewed say they would “prefer” to use a tablet to access data, as opposed to 55% who expressed a preference for using their mobile phones
A challenge for marketeers
The tablet has a clear advantage over the smartphone when it comes to accessing ‘heavier’ quantities of electronic medical data – information on medical care or patients’ medical files, for example. It has never been easier for healthcare professionals to access information, and it’s now therefore vital for marketing professionals to analyse and understand exactly how doctors are incorporating, or plan to incorporate, their smartphones and tablets into their working environment.
*A study of a permission-based panel of 1,000 US physicians
**The Physician Mobile Survey was carried out between 1 June and 12 June of this year among 315 doctors