MANUSCRIPT: Mobile tablet use among academic physicians and trainees.
The rapid adoption rate and integration of mobile technology (tablet computing devices and smartphones) by physicians is reshaping the current clinical landscape. These devices have sparked an evolution in a variety of arenas, including educational media dissemination, remote patient data access and point of care applications. Quantifying usage patterns of clinical applications of mobile technology is of interest to understand how these technologies are shaping current clinical care. A digital survey examining mobile tablet and associated application usage was administered via email to all ACGME training programs. Data regarding respondent specialty, level of training, and habits of tablet usage were collected and analyzed. 40% of respondents used a tablet, of which the iPad was the most popular. Nearly half of the tablet owners reported using the tablet in clinical settings; the most commonly used application types were point of care and electronic medical record access. Increased level of training was associated with decreased support for mobile computing improving physician capabilities and patient interactions. There was strong and consistent desire for institutional support of mobile computing and integration of mobile computing technology into medical education. While many physicians are currently purchasing mobile devices, often without institutional support, successful integration of these devices into the clinical setting is still developing. Potential reasons behind the low adoption rate may include interference of technology in doctor-patient interactions or the lack of appropriate applications available for download. However, the results convincingly demonstrate that physicians recognize a potential utility in mobile computing, indicated by their desire for institutional support and integration of mobile technology into medical education. It is likely that the use of tablet computers in clinical practice will expand in the future. Thus, we believe medical institutions, providers, educators, and developers should collaborate in ways that enhance the efficacy, reliability, and safety of integrating these devices into daily medical practice.