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Smartphones, EMRs Are "Way of Life" for Incoming Docs and Med Students

iphone-photoTechnology is a way of life for today’s medical students with the majority choosing clinical references on their iPhone device over teachers and peers to answer questions. The fifth annual Future Physicians of America survey conducted by Epocrates, Inc. revealed that medical students not only believe in the value of electronic health records (EHRs), but expect availability when they practice medicine.

More than 700 medical students, a third of whom dreamed of becoming a doctor since childhood, shared their opinions about a range of topics impacting the medical profession. Key survey findings include:

  • Mobile clinical reference dominant source – Students report turning to mobile or online references like Epocrates first for help with clinical questions. Students this year were twice as likely to turn to mobile references versus respondents in 2009. Nearly 80 percent of students report using Epocrates on a daily basis, with the majority using it multiple times throughout the day to confirm proper drug doses and check for adverse reactions or drug-drug interactions.
  • Medical students prefer the latest smartphone devices – Apple mobile devices – the iPhone and iPod touch – have soared in popularity with nearly 70 percent of students currently using the device, a 37 percent increase over 2009 respondents. BlackBerry (14%) and Android devices (11%) have the second and third highest adoption, respectively.More than 40 percent of future physicians say they plan to upgrade to a newer smartphone within the next year, and of those, more than 60 percent plan to purchase the iPhone and nearly a quarter will buy an Android device.
  • Students have high expectations for EHRs – Having an electronic health record is a very important factor for 94 percent of medical students in deciding where they will practice medicine. In contrast to industry predictions, students believe the benefits to medical practices will be the main driver for EHR implementation, rather than government initiatives. This is largely due to early exposure to EHR systems, as more than half of respondents said they are satisfied with the level of training their program provided on EHR use.

The Future Physicians of America survey is the largest survey of medical students using Epocrates software, approximately 80 percent of whom will be practicing physicians in less than two years.  For full survey results (PowerPoint presentation), click here.

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