Healthcare News & Insights

Tablets still not commonly used for many clinical tasks

Despite tablets’ popularity with doctors, desktop computers are still much more commonly used to view electronic health records (EHRs) and perform other clinical tasks. 

The majority of doctors (62%) currently own a tablet, according to one recent poll. However, while those mobile devices may be gaining popularity, the physicians who use tablets for common practice tasks are still in the minority, according to a new survey from Sharecare.

For doctors’ main functions, desktop PCs are still the most popular tool, with 75% using desktops for practice management duties, compared to 10% who use tablets. In addition, 25% of doctors use tablets and 6% use smartphones. Respondents were allowed to choose more than one answer.

Among the 1,190 doctors surveyed, desktop computers were also the most popular tool used for clinical tasks (59%), electronic prescribing (52%) and accessing an EHR (44%). The most popular use of tablets was for clinical needs, with 21% of doctors saying they used tablets for those tasks.

However, many experts don’t expect tablet use in health care to remain this rare for long. Right now, 19% of doctors are using a tablet in a professional setting, according to another survey. But an additional 35% say they’re likely to use a tablet for professional purposes within the next few years.

That means it’s not too early for health IT departments to start thinking about how to go about supporting tablet use for doctors — and about how to keep sensitive medical data held on tablets secure.

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