Thinking Doctors? Think Smartphones.

Doctor iPhonePhoto courtesy of Fast Company

By Sven Larsen (@zemoga)

A recent survey investigated physicians use of smartphones, and how it fits in to their detailing preferences. Here are some of the top findings:

  1. The majority of doctors own smartphones.
  2. While just about all of them still permit detailing rep visits, the numbers are dropping.
  3. And almost a fifth now use their smartphones for e-detailing. Thats age-independent: theyre doing it whether youre talking about an older physician or a younger one.

You can see the Pharmalot coverage of the survey here and the original press release here, but I know youre busy, so Ill cut to the chase of what this all means.

Heres the point. If doctors purchase your product, and you arent developing smartphone apps to sell it to them, youre failing.

Its as simple as that.

The handheld communications device most stereotypically associated with physicians is the pager. Its still common, especially with hospital-based physicians, but increasingly, its becoming a historical image. Your doctor is spending his or her time with a Blackberry, a Droid or an iPhone, not a plastic matchbook with ten LED numbers on the edge.

Physicians have adopted smartphone technology. We have to stop talking about that in the future tense, or as if its an eventual possibility. We have to stop doing doctors a disservice and treating them as if they havent had the time or the brainpower to pick up on what the rest of us have.

You need to think about the possibilities. These are the statistics as they stand now – with the paucity of physician-specific information available to them. Sit and imagine all of your physician outreach translated to smartphone apps. How much more would physicians use their phones then, with your new offerings adding that much more utility to their experience?

In another article on the survey findings, the founder of the surveying company noted that, “For a lot of doctors, they have the smartphone, but its not integrated with anything.

This is a major drawback. It is also a massive opportunity.

How can physicians smartphones be better integrated? Lets brainstorm for a moment.

    Why cant they write prescriptions on them?
    Why cant they communicate securely with patients through them?
    Why cant they call up complete charts on them?
    Why cant they order tests with them?
    Why cant they have apps for the PDR, the Merck Manual, and Tabers?

Some of these are possible. Some arent possible yet. But were teetering on the edge of an ocean of possibilities – and if you can be the one to provide these options, to make physicians smartphones that much smarter – just imagine how indispensable youll become.



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