Mobile tech use in the healthcare vertical has exploded over the past five years. According to a March, 2015 study by Kantar Media, 84% of US physicians polled use smartphones for professional purposes, and 56% use tablets.
Diagnostic tools, clinical reference apps, drug and coding references, and productivity and organizational tools were the top types of usage for smartphone carriers, while those who used tablets concentrated more on readable content and patient side care, with medical journal and electronic medical record apps as well as diagnostic tools and patient education tools.
Tablet use has been expanding among doctors, with the larger screens and ability to share screen views more readily with patients and other professionals leading to better versatility that outweighs the bulkier format. While institutions that provide mobile devices were more likely to hand out smartphones, the ones that opted for tablet deployment saw faster implementation of the devices in day-to-day use.
Patients also appreciate tablet use by their healthcare professionals; again, the ability to input, retrieve, share, and store information in real time is attractive to patients who seek to feel involved in their own care, and the tablet provides an easy way for doctors to loop patients in on the data files being created for them. Apps can be recommended and shared with patients who require monitoring, whether they are image based meal logs for diabetics, logs for exercise, heart rate and blood pressure evaluators, or sleep tracking.
The apps available for healthcare are in the tens of thousands. According to research by MedData Group in January, 2015, the leading apps allow access to specialty specific and clinical content; medical education articles; and pharma information, specifically contraindications and drug interaction information. Having quick access and the ability to double check data while patient-side increases trust and leads to better outcomes.
Only 20% of doctors as of that study reported not reading medical content on mobile devices, and polling from just one year prior showed nearly 40% of doctors were committed to making their practice mobile friendly for both staff and patients, citing the benefits of understanding the needs of a mobile generation, and the ability to enhance patient compliance via app use and data capture long term.
Overall, tablets can be expected to continue to advance on smartphones in the medical field, especially in the arena of patient interaction. From access to EHRs to app development for patient care, there are more benefits on the horizon for medical adaptation and patient implementation.