Home Poll A look at mobile devices in the hospital

A look at mobile devices in the hospital

March 2014

Published in the March 2014 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

IF IT SEEMS LIKE mobile devices are everywhere in the hospital, that’s probably because the use of smartphones and tablets is flourishing among hospitalists. According to data from the 2013 Today’s Hospitalist Compensation & Career Survey, two-thirds of hospitalists say they use mobile devices in their clinical work. Here’s a look at how many hospitalists use mobile devices in their practice, and how they expect that use to change in the future.

Smartphones and tablets
According to our 2013 survey data, 67% of hospitalists say they use a mobile device in their clinical work.

Seven out of eight hospitalists report that the use of smartphones or tablets is permitted in their hospital. Only one in eight hospitalists says the use of mobile devices in their hospital is not allowed.

Not surprisingly, smartphones are the device of choice for nearly all hospitalists using mobile devices. About one-fifth of hospitalists report using a tablet.

Differences by specialty
Mobile device usage is higher among hospitalists treating adults, with 69% saying they use mobile devices. That figure is significantly lower for pediatric hospitalists, with only 50% reporting that they use a mobile device for clinical work.

Our data also point to differences by gender and age. Male hospitalists, for example, are slightly more likely to use a mobile device (70%) than their female counterparts (61%). And while 71% of hospitalists who have been in their job for two years or less use a mobile device in clinical practice, only 57% of hospitalists in their job for 10-plus years do so.

Future growth
We asked hospitalists about the future of mobile computing in clinical practice, and they clearly expect it to grow in the next five years. Nearly three-quarters (72%) expect the use of smartphones and tablets to become much more significant, while 22% think it will be slightly more significant. Only 7% said the use of mobile computing in the hospital will not expand.

While the number of hospitalists who use mobile devices hasn’t changed much since 2012, the number of hospitalists allowed to use mobile devices in their clinical work but opting not to use them has dropped.

That’s particularly the case for tablets. In 2012, 47% of hospitalists said that tablets were permitted in clinical work, but they chose not to use them. By 2013, that percentage opting out had dropped to 18%.