Physicians: Mobile Technology Changed the Dynamic of Office Visits

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As demand on physician’s time increases, so in turn does their use of mobile technology to improve efficiencies. According to a Merck Manuals survey released today, nearly three in four family physicians (73%) say they consider themselves tech-savvy. In fact, two in three doctors (66%) use a mobile device to access medical information in a professional setting more than 10 times a day.

As a press release from Merck notes, a survey of 220 family physicians, conducted by the Merck Manuals at a recent medical conference, examined usage and perceptions of mobile technology in the family practice setting. While the vast majority of respondents (81%) agreed that the availability of medical information on mobile devices has changed the dynamic of office visits, responses for how the dynamic has changed varied:

  • More than half (56%) of physicians said doctors and patients are more likely to review medical information together
  • More than a quarter (29%) of physicians indicated that appointments are more efficient as a result of mobile medical information
  • About one third (34%) of physicians said patients arrive more informed and prepared – yet 33% said patients arrive misinformed

“Mobile technology is not meant to replace the patient/doctor relationship,” said Robert S. Porter, MD, Merck Manuals Editor-in-Chief. “In fact, it can enhance the office visit by allowing them to review information together, as our survey found.”

Family physicians identified a number of reasons for consulting their mobile devices in the office. Of those who use a mobile device to access medical information in a professional setting:

  • 80% use the information to inform their diagnosis or treatment plans for patients
  • 66% catch up on the latest news in the medical community
  • 60% use it to explain and further illustrate information to patients
  • 28% send information directly to patients

“Physicians are becoming increasingly reliant on mobile technology to access relevant medical information when they need it most. That’s why it was so important to us to launch our longstanding medical resources as free mobile apps for consumers and professionals this year,” said Dr. Porter. “Physicians can access thousands of medical topics, videos, images and other resources on the professional app and can direct their patients to the consumer app for trusted medical information.”

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