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Healing with tablets no longer requires ingesting them: doctor usage of tablet PCs has almost doubled since 2011. A full 62% of doctors now own tablets – compared to just 19% of all U.S. adults – and half of them have used them at their workplace.
These new findings from Taking the Pulse U.S. 2012 by healthcare research firm Manhattan Research largely conform to predicted technology adoption patterns by medical professionals, though they are picking up the new devices faster than expected. In addition to buying armfuls of iPads, doctors are also turning to online video to stay informed on health topics and learn about the latest developments in medical technology – two-thirds of them, in fact. And the doctors who use multiple screens daily (smartphones, tablets, and desktops/laptops) were more likely to go online at work than those who owned fewer screens.
Though the use of these new technologies skews younger, the emergence of the tablet’s popularity among physicians is not surprising. Tablets give access to calendars, schedules, medical references and patient educational videos and literature at the touch of a finger. The portability combined with long-lasting batteries and large, crisp displays make tablets an invaluable tool to busy doctors running between patients, offices and personal errands. Access to email and video conferencing via wireless internet connections further improves communication channels between care providers and patients, freeing them from both their desks and dated contact methods.
Better availability of information can only be a good thing for our doctors – diagnostic apps can even help recognize symptoms and confirm their suspicions. Though easily accessed health records may meet resistance due to security concerns, eventually most doctors will probably be carrying a tablet of some form with them to every patient meeting – improving education, diagnoses and outcomes along the way.
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