Mobile Technology and the New Era for Medical Marketing

February 8, 2014
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Epocrates study on use of mobile technology

Epocrates study on use of mobile technology

mhealthMobile technology (mHealth) has revolutionized the way people communicate. In a study conducted by Epocrates (Maximizing Multi-Screen Engagement Among Clinicians) involving 1,063 healthcare providers—namely primary care practitioners, oncologists, cardiologists, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants—results reveal that nearly half of these individuals are digital omnivores, or those who routinely make use of smartphones, tablets, and laptops to accomplish several healthcare-related tasks. The study also characterized how often and in what ways mobile technology has benefited healthcare providers, as well as its impact on the future of healthcare, particularly with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, along with several other provisions that impact workflows in healthcare facilities.

Physicians are becoming digital omnivores

Comparing the results of last year’s study conducted by the same company, the 2013 Epocrates Mobile Trends Survey shows an incredible upward trend in several aspects, nearly twice as 2012. For instance, the number of digital omnivores grew from 28% to 47% this year, with the number of tablet users increasing from 34% in 2012 to this year’s 53%, and with smartphone users from 78% to 86%. And using these quite impressive figures, and using the 2012 survey results as the benchmark, it is predicted that by 2014 digital omnivores will grow to up to 82%.

So what do all these figures say about tomorrow’s healthcare industry?

With a very dynamic and rigorous environment, the industry of healthcare is in an urgent need for tools and resources that will make every single person efficient and productive, and mobile technology has definitely given this industry that much-needed upgrade.

  • Communication between caregivers – Mobile use has proven to be a viable tool that enables rapid access to medical information and communication not just between patients and primary caregivers, but even among caregivers themselves.
  • Communication between providers and patients – These devices also enable providers to get connected to their patients and colleagues after office hours and well into the evening. Desktop computers may be the primary tool used in a healthcare facility, say from 7am to 5pm, but study shows that tablets and smartphones account for roughly 40% of a healthcare provider’s digital time at work. In particular, almost half of surveyed healthcare providers who own tablets use their device for electronic health record management and all other sorts of clinical documentation, as well as for completing other tasks like visiting professional resources, reading journal articles, emailing, or working on their portals. Patients are now able to connect to their healthcare providers easily, thus minimizing frequent visits to hospital facilities.
  • Communication between medical manufacturers and patients – The continuous introduction of mobile healthcare applications provides patients easy access to information that will aid them in living a healthier and more active life. Medical devices manufacturers can directly reach patients answering questions and building long term relationships with them.
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How Can Technology Personalize the Patient Experience?

With all the benefits of using mobile devices, especially in an environment as dynamic as the healthcare industry, and with the growing number of mobile device users, it’s clear that we are entering a new era of healthcare. It is safe to assume that the use of mobile devices in this industry will help reduce healthcare costs, both on the part of primary care providers and on patients, and overall improve patient diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes.

What does this mean to the medical device manufacturer?

This means primarily to create content that can be easily disseminated and is adaptable across many types of displays and screens. One of the ways to achieve this today by building a responsive medical device website.

Photo by juhansonin