Apr 22 2013

Mobile Medicine: Doctors Turn to Tablets and Prescribe Apps to Patients

New survey finds that 3 in 4 physicians own tablets.

The rise of tablets in the workplace has been fast and furious. According to an IDG survey conducted last year, 71 percent of business and IT professionals own a tablet.

It would appear that doctors have similarly decided to join the tablet brigade as new research from Manhattan Research claims that 72 percent of physicians now own tablets, according to a report from Tab Times.

In 2011, only 30 percent of physicians said they owned tablets, so it appears that adoption of the mobile form factor has gone viral.

One doctor praising the use of tablets in a clinical setting is Iltifat Husain, founder and editor-in-chief of iMedicalApps.com. He’s a fan of the iPad Mini and described his adoration of the device in a post on the blog.

With the iPad Mini, no arm cradling is required. It doesn’t feel like a brick in your hands by the time you’re tapping the Physical Exam portion into the patient chart. You can comfortably hold it in one hand and the weight doesn’t distract you from your patient encounter. The Mini feels like the typical clipboard you would use for a patient encounter, rather than an electronic brick.

While the tablet as a replacement for the clipboard makes sense, some doctors are going even further and embracing mobile apps as an additional patient consultant.

Manhattan Research President Meredith Ressi noted that some doctors are prescribing mobile apps to their patients.

“We did a little section [in our survey] asking what kinds of apps they had prescribed. So it’s really interesting to see that becoming a reality,” she said in an article for MobiHealthNews.

The rising use of medical mobile apps is similar to healthcare’s embrace of smartphones and tablets. According to a report from UPI, “the number of smartphone consumers using mobile medical apps will grow to 500 million by 2015.”

If this trend continues, the phrase “there’s an app for that” could soon apply to patients waging war with a migraine, the cold or other ailments.