Apple iPad: No place in your practice

February 23, 2012

The vast majority of doctors own and enjoy Apple iPads, but few use them at their practice, according to survey results released by a market research firm.

The vast majority of physicians own and enjoy Apple iPads, but few use them in their practices, according to survey results released by a market research firm.

The results of Spyglass Consulting Group’s survey, “Healthcare Without Bounds: Point of Care Computing for Physicians 2012,” show that 70% of doctors use an iPad for personal use, but very few use them at their practice.

The applications aren’t there,” Gregg Malkary, managing director of Spyglass Consulting Group, told eConsult. “We need to bring the capabilities of what’s on the iPhone and iPad to clinical applications. There’s so much that could be done with clinical workflow.”

Malkary cites the iPhone 4S’s “Siri” intelligent personal assistant, which allows users to speak instructions. Malkary says the functionality could be applied to a medical setting.

“You could tell Siri to bring up the records for Patient Jones, or write a prescription and send it to the local CVS, or bring up reference material,” he says. “The problem is, we have engineers designing these programs, and they just don’t get it.”

The survey report reveals that 80% of physicians believe the Apple iPad has a promising future in healthcare, but they are skeptical that the device is ready to transform patient care delivery today due to the lack of clinical software. Few electronic health record vendors offer iPad-compatible systems, Malkary says.

Other results of the survey:

Ninety-eight percent of physicians interviewed have embraced mobile computing devices to support their personal and professional workflows, but most accessed clinical information when they were outside their working environment.

Eighty-three percent of doctors interviewed were using desktop computers as their primary device for accessing corporate assets and patient data whether they were at the hospital, in their office, or at home. 

Seventy-five percent of physicians interviewed reported that their hospital information technology (IT) department was resistant to supporting personal mobile devices on the corporate network. Hospital IT departments believe personal devices are insecure, less reliable, and more expensive to distribute, support, and maintain than desktop computers, according to the report.  

  Spyglass conducted the telephone interviews over a 4-month period beginning July 2011 with 100 physicians working in acute care and ambulatory facilities nationwide. Half of the physicians were office-based.

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