iPhone Eclipses Blackberry as Physician's Top Choice, Survey Shows

July 23, 2010
Terri Cullen

Nearly half of doctors surveyed showed a clear preference for using the iPhone over the Blackberry to manage personal and practice business, and access medical information, according to a new survey of smartphone use by physicians.

Nearly half of doctors surveyed showed a clear preference for using the iPhone over the Blackberry to manage personal and practice business, and access medical information, according to a new survey of smartphone use by physicians.

The “Healthcare Without Bounds: Point of Care Communications for Physicians” survey by Spyglass Consulting Group, a healthcare and information-technology consulting firm, found that 94 percent of physicians interviewed have adopted smartphones, a 60 percent increase from a similar study done in 2006. For the survey, Spyglass interviewed more than 100 physicians working in acute care and ambulatory environments nationwide.

“Physician smartphone adoption is occurring more rapidly than with members of the general public,” said Gregg Malkary, Managing Director of Spyglass Consulting Group. Forty-four percent of doctors surveyed showed clear preference for using the Apple Inc.’s iPhone, compare with 25 percent for the Research in Motion Ltd.’s Blackberry smartphones, Malkary said.

Among other findings in the report:

Physicians are increasingly experiencing difficulties connecting with their colleagues, according to the report. Nearly 80 percent of physicians surveyed said were experiencing difficulties accessing and communicating with colleagues in a timely manner. Many physicians lack financial incentives to be more accessible by mobile phones because the current fee-for-service reimbursement system encourages physicians to focus on the quantity versus the quality of healthcare delivered, according to the report. Non-essential phone calls or e-mails with colleagues and patients were viewed by doctors as non-reimbursable distractions.

Physicians also said they were overwhelmed by the volume of incoming communications from colleagues, team members, and patients. Survey participants said they lack automated tools to help manage voice mail, pager messages, SMS messages, and email, forcing them to continually check and prioritize communications based upon sender, subject and priority. As a result, the study found, critical communications easily fall through the cracks.