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August 25, 2010

Doctors Love Smartphones, Creating Hospital IT Dilemma


An article in amednews.com, published by the American Medical Associations, highlights a new health information technology conundrum: as physicians embrace smartphones, hospital IT departments are struggling to integrate the new mobile technology with older desktop-based health systems. Health IT professionals have been caught off-guard as physicians have started demanding that electronic clinical information systems be made available through their smartphones.

According to C. Peter Waegemann of the mHealth Initiative, "five to 10 years ago they were saying, 'If only my docs would be using computers.' Now hospital executives bemoan the fact that doctors are using these smartphones all the time ... and I don't know how to integrate it."

Surveys from Spyglass Consulting Group and Manhattan Research point to much higher smartphone adoption rates for doctors than for the general US population. Meredith Ressi at Manhattan Research noted that "professional use of smartphones and online user-generated content are no longer early-adopter activities of a tech-savvy few -- these types of activities are the norm for the majority of physicians today."

But according to Gregg Malkary of Spyglass Group, frequently physicians can’t use their smartphones to connect with existing clinical applications, such as electronic medical records, at their local hospitals. And of the few hospitals that allow access, many only support one device. For more on the challenges to physicians of using Smartphones in hospitals, see in amednews.com.


Ms. Graham is a writer and editor with a current focus on health and wellness. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Monda

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