Smart Devices – Just What the Doctor Ordered

ImageBy Kathleen Gaffney, Healthcare Transformation Specialist

Physicians will want to start off the year by utilizing their new personal smart devices in the workplace.  CIOs can prepare by understanding how physicians are using their smart devices and the type of support they are looking for from the IT department. 

Physicians in all specialties rely more and more on mobile devices to provide medical care. Studies show that there is no statistically significant difference in the volume of mobile device usage between Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers, though there are differences across the medical specialties. Specialists have a higher likelihood of using smartphones and tablets in the workplace compared to primary care physicians.  Physician Assistants and Emergency Department Physicians have the highest usage rate of all specialties. 

Physicians rely on their smart devices for a variety of reasons — to communicate with other physicians, obtain pharmacy or medication-related information, and access medical and evidence-based medicine reference resources.  They would utilize their smart devices even more frequently to access the EMR if the information was presented via a friendlier mobile interface.

When using their smart devices, different specialties have different content needs.  Pediatricians use their mobile devices to obtain pharmacy and medication information more frequently than that of internal medicine physicians.  Internists frequently access evidence-based medicine resources.  ED physicians use a photo application to document suspected physical abuse injuries and video application to share possible movement disorders with neurologists.  Hospitalists use texting to communicate with physicians about their inpatients, and all physicians like to receive critical labs and reports on their smart device.

Today, physicians are looking for IT to support the following on their smart devices:

  • Secure methods for sending actionable messages that include Personal Health Information
  • The provision of an easy-to-use, intuitive EMR on a smart device
  • Clinical alerts pushed to their smart device
  • Reliable wireless coverage and high speed Internet throughout the institution

If IT can provide this support while understanding that different specialties have different volume usage and content needs they will be off to a great start in 2013. 

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