August 05, 2013 — By 

The growth of the mobile health (mHealth) industry is exploding.

According to a new IDC Health Insights Report, clinical mobility spending in the United States is expected to grow from $2.9 billion in 2011 to $5.4 billion in 2016.

Physicians and other healthcare professionals are integrating mobile capabilities into their workflow to help improve the coordination, delivery and cost of care. This further validates the label “Digital Omnivore,” a term coined by Epocrates for clinicians who use a tablet, smartphone and laptop/desktop computer routinely in a professional capacity.

In Epocrates’ 2ndAnnual Mobile Trends Survey almost half of the 1,063 physicians surveyed are Digital Omnivores—a significant increase of 68% over 2012.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Digital Omnivores will become the majority by 2014: In 2012, 28 percent of those surveyed were deemed Digital Omnivores. This year, 47 percent physicians use a combination of the smartphone, the tablet and the computer professionally. The Digital Omnivore segment is expected to grow to 82% in 2014.This increase is due to more widespread use of tablets, like the Apple iPad.
  • Growth is trending across specialties—From primary care, cardiology, oncology and psychiatry to nurse practitioners and physician assistants, healthcare professionals are taking advantage of the convenience and utility of today’s sophisticated mobile devices and laptops.
  • For example, 48% of primary care physicians wear the Digital Omnivore label in 2013; and this segment is projected to jump to 85% next year.
  • Physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) can claim a Digital Omnivore “market share” of 30% and 40% respectively this year.
  • In 2014, Epocrates expects to see 76% of PAs and 77% of NPs to be Digital Omnivores.

Bottom line: mobile device usage appears to be addictive. Although “Digital Omnivores” use their PCs during the standard workday, they turn to the tablet and smartphone for 40 percent of the time, and their mobile devices stay in use well into the evening.


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