Just like the rest of us, doctors love their devices. And just like most of us, most physicians use their tablets and smartphones at work, at home and everywhere in between. The question is how they use them--and, of course, how to reach them when they do.
Just which devices docs use for which tasks depends on which survey you read--the latest, from Kantar Media, found that physicians prefer tablets by a slight margin for reading journal articles, listening to medical podcasts and webcasts and working with electronic health records. Smartphones are the device of choice for quick drug-reference checks, on-the-go clinical research and professional news updates.
The survey, encompassing more than 3,000 doctors across 22 specialties, also found that about 70% of doctors use tablets for professional and/or personal reasons, and more than 90% now own a smartphone. Most carry their smartphones around, and many depend on them as they might a pencil or a stethoscope. Some treat their tablets the same way. Others pick up their tablets only for reading or video-watching.
The upshot is that a) device use is growing and b) although docs use smartphones more often, they're turning to tablets more often than they used to, and apparently prefer them for more content-intensive tasks. As EHR Intelligence notes, as electronic health records proliferate, doctors are looking to their devices to help them keep up with note-taking and other EHR-related tasks. And some 84% of doctors say their devices make them more productive and efficient, and they enjoy their paperwork more when it's digital.
All of this converges on one point. Anything intended for a physician audience needs to be accessible from--and adapted to--the various screens doctors use daily: e-detailing, journal advertising, e-brochures, sample-ordering programs, brand websites, doc-facing mobile apps, what have you.
"Today's digital omnivores express a preference for mobile screens across all professional tasks," a recent Epocrates study found (as quoted by EHR Intelligence). That's "an important behavioral shift that has potential to dramatically shape the way developers, content providers and marketers engage with clinicians as the three-screen workflow becomes the norm."