Physicians Increasingly Use Smartphones during Patient Care

Physicians are increasingly turning to patient-facing digital tools like smartphones and apps to treat patients and meet outcomes-based incentives.

Physicians are turning to patient-facing digital tools like smartphones and apps to treat patients and meet outcomes-based incentives, according to a new report.

According to Manhattan Research’s Taking the Pulse US 2014, more than a third of physicians have either been evaluated or rewarded based on metrics measuring cost of treatment, patient outcomes, or referrals. Roughly 40% of respondents believe communicating digitally with patients will improve outcomes, and the same percent as said they have increased the use of digital communication with patients over the past year.

“As we move to an outcomes-based model of healthcare provision in the US, remote monitoring and telehealth are going to drive an extension of the point of care,” Director of Physician Research James Avallone said in a statement. “We’re seeing physician attitudes really align with policy.”

The report found that, in the last year, 47% of physicians with smartphones used them to show patients images or videos and more than a third recommended patients use health apps.

Despite an increasingly reliance on digital technology, video consults are relatively rare, according to Manhattan Research. Less than a quarter of physicians report they or their teams used a patient portal to communicate with patients in the last year. Just a fifth of physicians monitored patients remotely. Those who did reported they monitored an average of 22 patients per month.

“There’s a perception out there that the shift in focus to population health isn’t yet on physicians’ radar,” Vice President of Research Monique Levy said in a statement. “This data shows physicians are thinking about patient outcomes and indicates an opportunity for companies that can provide them digital tools to help them meet their targets.”