May 16, 2013

The Mobile Experiment, Experience Trumps Youthful Enthusiasm? by Jim Bloedau

In two studies cited by our friends over at MobiHealthNews, Jonah Comstock shines up the ongoing dilemma of mobile technology finding the right fit with physicians.  Two of the studies he presents points out the importance of managing expectations for what tech can do for you and how it will fit your professional life. The 50% crash of youthful enthusiasm for iPads by medical residents at the University of Chicago laid up against the practical side of practicing medicine in the real world in the Deloitte study suggests a couple of things.  First that the adoption of mobile tech is tempered by the experience of running a medical practice, there’s a much more deliberate consensus reached about the value each innovation brings.  Also, the practice of medicine becomes very stylized when left to find it’s own way.  How tech is adopted depends on motivations and more importantly the practicalities of the value created by it. Finally, both studies below reminded me of the collegiality of medicine, to give it the ‘old college try” and to always ask, “Is this the best way to do things?”  Both of these studies could be perceived as disheartening, but under the surface they hold great promise. 

Physician adoption of health information technology: Implications for medical practice leaders and business partners is a Deloitte survey of 613 physicians that found 43 percent of doctors use smartphones or tablets for clinical purposes, which the firm suggested included EHR access, e-prescribing, and physician-to-physician communication. Of the 57 percent of physicians that do not use their mobile devices for clinical purposes, 44 percent said that their work doesn’t provide mobile devices and they’re unwilling to use their own, 29 percent were concerned about patient privacy, and 26 percent said the apps and programs available weren’t suited to their needs. However, 22 percent of the non-users indicated a plan to use mobile health technology in the future.”

 “In another study, a JMIR study of 115 medical residents at the University of Chicago published this month compared the “hype” of iPads (the expected use prior to the roll out) with their actual use. Before the roll out, 34 percent of residents strongly agreed that the iPad would benefit patient care and 41 percent strongly agreed that it would increase ward efficiency. Four months later, 15 percent strongly agreed it had benefitted patient care and 24 percent felt it had increased efficiency. Still, overall satisfaction with the iPads was high, with 84 percent of residents believing the iPad was a good investment for the residency program.”

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