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About Half of Health Care Providers Are 'Digital Omnivores'

Use tablet, smartphone, and laptop/desktop; prefer mobile devices for all tasks

TUESDAY, Sept. 10 (HealthDay News) -- About half of health care providers are "digital omnivores," meaning they use a tablet, smartphone, and laptop/desktop computer routinely in a professional capacity, according to a report published by Epocrates.

Researchers surveyed 1,063 health care providers from the Epocrates market research panel regarding their mobile technology use. Respondents included primary care practitioners, cardiologists, oncologists, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.

According to the report, 47 percent of respondents in 2013 were digital omnivores, up from 28 percent in 2012. They report using computers at about the same rate as other health care providers, and prefer mobile devices for all tasks, including reading journal materials, visiting professional resources, communication with colleagues, and e-mail. Although personal computers are predominantly used during standard working hours, tablet and smartphone use accounts for more than 40 percent of a typical clinician's digital time at work. Time spent on tablets and smartphones accounts for most of the time clinicians spend on digital devices out of normal work hours. Tablets and smartphones are more commonly used than computers for search traffic, accessing professional resources, and communication among colleagues. Only one in three clinicians reported that their practice electronic health record is optimized for mobile use.

"Digital omnivores are becoming the standard: connected, mobile-centric clinicians who show preference for mobile screens in all professional tasks and spend more time accessing digital information than their colleagues," according to the report.

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