Tablet adoption goes mainstream among physicians

Physicians are no longer laggards when it comes to accepting and using digital devices and media. That's the conclusion of a new study from healthcare market research and advisory firm Manhattan Research, which surveyed 3,015 U.S. practicing physicians online across more than 25 specialties during the first quarter of 2012.

Manhattan Research's Taking the Pulse U.S. 2012 study focused on how U.S. physicians use the Internet, digital media, mobile devices and other technologies for professional purposes and patient interaction. The researchers found that physicians’ device and digital media adoption are evolving much faster than anticipated, especially when it comes to tablets.

Among the key findings of the study:

  • Physician tablet adoption for professional purposes almost doubled since 2011, reaching 62 percent in 2012, with the iPad being the dominant platform. Furthermore, one-half of tablet-owning physicians have used their device at the point-of-care.
  • Physicians with three screens (tablets, smartphones and desktops/laptops) spend more time online on each device and go online more often during the workday than physicians with one or two screens.
  • Adoption of physician-only social networks remained flat between 2011 and 2012. Additionally, the study found that physicians reach out more frequently to -- and are more influenced by -- colleagues with whom they formed relationships at school or at work than peers with whom they first connected online.
  • More than two-thirds of physicians use video to learn and keep up to date with clinical information.

“Physicians are evolving in ways we expected -- only faster,” said Monique Levy, vice president of research at Manhattan Research. “The skyrocketing adoption rates of tablets alone, especially iPads, means healthcare stakeholders should revisit many of their assumptions about reaching and engaging with this audience.”

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