A couple of things (not surprising) of note:
- A 2010 Manhattan Research survey puts physician smartphone adoption at 72%. They predict 2012 adoption will approach 81%.
- Blackberry and iPhone adoption would appear to remain neck and neck as far as preference among physicians.
- Significant numbers of physicians are using smartphones at point of care – 94% in a very small sample of 100.
And pharma appears to know this, for better or for worse. Having just returned from Digital Pharma West I can tell you that mobile apps are in 2010 what destination sites were for pharma 1995: Everyone’s gotta have one. Because, of course, if you have a mobile application you will work your way into the phone (and the mind) of the prescribing physician.
But not so fast. The presence of an app on my iPhone says nothing about my inclination to use it. And more and more I’m working to rely on just a few things.
This assessment from Spyglass Consulting Group’s 2010 report might be worth thinking about:
Physicians interviewed report they are overwhelmed by the daily volume of communications received from colleagues, care team members, and patients. They lack automated tools to manage voice mail, pager messages, SMS messages, and electronic mail. They are forced to continually check separate data silos and manually filter and prioritize communications based upon sender, subject and priority. Critical communications easily fall through the cracks.
So more apps may not be the answer. Just like another website wasn’t the answer in 1995.
Connecting and messaging to physicians in will require an understanding of precisely how they operate and use their tools – both workstation based and mobile. The quote from Spyglass unfortunately sums up the physician experience as it’s currently evolving.
Recognition of this reality and a clear understanding of workflow will offer insight into whether an app stands a chance of ever making it into a physician’s attention span.