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Survey: Family Docs Say Mobile Tech has Enhanced Office Visits

October 11, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Nearly three in four family physicians (73 percent) say they consider themselves tech-savvy, and two-thirds of doctors use a mobile device in a professional setting to access medical information more than 10 times a day, according to a new survey from Merck Manuals.

The survey of 220 family physicians at a recent medical conference, conducted by the Merck Manuals, a medical reference for healthcare professionals and consumers, examined usage and perceptions of mobile technology in the family practice setting. While the vast majority of respondents (81 percent) 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 percent) of physicians said doctors and patients are more likely to review medical information together
  • More than a quarter (29 percent) of physicians indicated that appointments are more efficient as a result of mobile medical information
  • About one third (34 percent) of physicians said patients arrive more informed and prepared, yet 33 percent said patients arrive misinformed

“Mobile technology is not meant to replace the patient/doctor relationship,” Robert S. Porter, M.D., Merck Manuals editor-in-chief, said in a statement. “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 percent use the information to inform their diagnosis or treatment plans for patients
  • 66 percent catch up on the latest news in the medical community
  • 60 percent use it to explain and further illustrate information to patients
  • 28 percent send information directly to patients

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