In recent years, there has been an escalation in the number of smartphone users as well as the number of available mobile healthcare apps. An Australian study stated that assistance in decision-making, a decrease in the rate of medical errors, and improvement in the workflow are some factors that contribute to the constantly rising global demand for medical apps among healthcare providers.
Objective: Assessing and understanding doctors’ perceptions of healthcare mobile apps.
A total of 144 doctors participated in the survey — otolaryngologist (21.53%), physiotherapist (13.19%), ophthalmologist (7.64%), pulmonologist (6.94%), diabetologist (6.25%), fetal medicine (6.25%), paediatrician (4.86%), orthopaedist (4.17%), dentist (3.47%), gynaecologist (3.47%), dermatologist (2.78%), cardiologist (2.08%), psychiatrist (2.08%), general practitioner (2.08%), and others (13.19%).
- 57.64% of doctors use healthcare apps sometimes, 20.14% use regularly, and 15.97% don’t use medical apps
- 45.83% of doctors stated that healthcare apps help them in routine practice, while 33.33% stated occasionally
- A majority of physicians (41.67%) expected apps to assist them through review and update of knowledge, whereas 24.31% expected apps to serve as a guide for clinical skills, for drug information, and patient counselling aids
- 49.31% of doctors prefer using apps for either diagnosis /treatment, procedure/case documentation, drug reference, clinical score/dose calculator, online consultation/telemedicine or patient education. Among these, diagnosis/treatment (27.08%) was the highly preferred category of app.
- 31.25% of physicians highlighted that they did not have time for using apps, while 29.86% disclosed that they prefer to spend more time with their patients
- Furthermore, few doctors stated that internet issues and privacy matters were barriers to app usage, while few still prefer books, journals, seminars, and conferences
Medical apps are useful tools for healthcare professionals and with advancing features, their use in clinical practice is expected to be higher. However, few doctors are still reluctant in using these apps.
Though there seems to be a hike in medical app usage, their use is without a proper understanding of the risks and benefits linked to it. Meticulous assessment, validation, and development of medical apps are required to ensure safety and quality.
These measures along with the use of medical apps in the right manner can improve efficiency, communication, education, and eventually lead to better patient care, which is the ultimate source of satisfaction for any doctor.
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