Dramatic Shifts in Health and Technology in the Last 3 Years Impact Physicians

June 7, 2013
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health technology“It’s really exciting to see from just 2010 to 2013 these incredibly dramatic shifts year-over-year because of new technologies; creating a lot of exciting new opportunities for engagement across them. I did the 2010 [Taking the Pulse®] study, which was only a few years ago, and there was no iPad in Q1 of 2010, if you can imagine such a time.

health technology“It’s really exciting to see from just 2010 to 2013 these incredibly dramatic shifts year-over-year because of new technologies; creating a lot of exciting new opportunities for engagement across them. I did the 2010 [Taking the Pulse®] study, which was only a few years ago, and there was no iPad in Q1 of 2010, if you can imagine such a time. How much this world and the types of content sources that physicians have access to have changed! Today’s medical students get all their textbooks issued on iPad, and Smartphones are totally integrated into the way they are learning to practice.” ~ Meredith Ressi, President, Manhattan Research at the 2013 EHS Publisher Summit

So, what do these changes mean for today’s health content publishers? A lot. And even more if they want to be tomorrow’s health content publishers. Ms. Ressi shared some data highlights with an audience of elite industry publishers at the event.

Physicians now have constant access through multiple devices they use throughout the day. Weekly or more often, they report their greatest online usage is for news, references and textbooks, professional journals, and contact with colleagues. This year, online references and textbooks surpassed use of their print counterpoints (54/50%).

Physicians also predict a shift in reading professional journals more online in the next 12 months. In keeping with general trends for use of the Internet, 80% of physicians use search engines on at least a weekly basis to research professional information. Notably, use of pharmaceutical Web properties was down from 23% last year to 18% in this year’s study.

Mobility and flexibility have become two lynchpins in the physician information picture today, with 81% reporting use of mobile apps and 67% use of mobile websites. Seventy percent (70%) also reported watching online videos for professional purposes, which is a huge growth.

There has been a large adoption of tablet technology. Seventy-two percent (72%) of physicians have tablets. Many physicians read professional journals on a tablet via mobile Web.  Many use them when going room-to-room for patient consults. They are used less in practices with EHR technology, which is typically not yet tablet-compatible. Most EHRs are accessed via desktop or a dedicated desktop.

Smartphones are even more a part of physician’s everyday practice. Eighty-three percent (83%) have a Smartphone, which physicians use regularly for quick searches and other quick-hit, problem-solving purposes throughout their day.

Ms. Ressi summed up several “looking ahead trends” related to the future of content for physicians:

  • Searchability – Content needs to be delivered in ways that make it easy for physicians to find what they want when they need it.
  • Interaction – Physicians have an expectation of truly interactive content that allows users to dive deeper across screens.
  • EHRs – The market will create new ways for EHRs and Open Content Sources to coexist, perhaps through integration.
  • Outcomes Reimbursement – The industry shift toward outcomes-based reimbursement will create new content demands for physicians.

Ms. Ressi challenged the audience: What is the future of content and delivery for physicians who are accustomed to having information on demand and who are experiencing evolving learning styles? What are the expectations of doctors whose medical school textbooks were on their iPads?

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