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Physicians using tablets to treat patients

Lucas Mearian | Nov. 18, 2011
The next wave of mobile adoption is well under way as healthcare providers increasingly turn to tablets, smartphones and apps to bolster patient care, according to a new survey of physicians in the U.S.

Late last year, Kern Medical Center, a 222-bed acute-care teaching hospital, deployed an OpenVista EMR system from Medsphere Systems Corp.

"As mobile devices and applications have become more user-friendly, affordable and powerful, the appeal to businesses of all types, including healthcare providers, has grown exponentially," Tim Herbert, vice president of research at CompTIA, said in a statement.

The survey also touched on the adoption of cloud computing in the healthcare industry. The results showed cloud computing is clearly in its early stages, with 57% indicating they were not very familiar with the technology and just 5% stating they were using cloud services.

"It's worth noting, though, that some healthcare providers are likely using cloud-based applications, like software-as-a-service, and not thinking of it as cloud computing," the report stated.

The potential for its growth is strong. A key component of EMR meaningful use standards is the ability to share information, either through proprietary networks or through regional Health Information Exchanges, which will include many of the elements of cloud computing.

Adoption of telemedicine, where physicians consult with patients with teleconferencing, is still a ways off, the report said. Recent studies have shown that patients can be just as effectively treated through telemedicine as through traditional in-person visits. In fact, studies have shown telemedicine actually improves patient-physician communication.

Hoewever, just 14% of healthcare professionals reported actively following news and trends in telemedicine, according to CompTIA's survey.

Those surveyed indicated they saw the greatest benefits of telemedicine in the areas of continuing medical education (61%), specialist referral services (44%) and patient consultations (37%). Only one in 10 healthcare providers surveyed say they intend to use video conferencing for patient interaction within the next 12 months.


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