Physicians Like Digital Tech, But Adoption Is Slow

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Many doctors say they want to spend more time engaging in online activities. But that doesn’t reflect their actions in the real world. According to a survey that measured physicians’ digital behavior, 84% of doctors would prefer to attend events such as continuing medical education (CME) training online. But only 6.4% say that they actually participate in virtual events very often, and only 18.5% participate in them often.


The Joint Survey of Physician Digital Behavior, conducted by San Francisco-based ON24 and Boston-based MedData Group, queried 971 physicians about their online behavior and use of technology such as the iPad. Among the major findings: 75.5% of the respondents realized that virtual events and webcasts are increasing in number, while 91% asserted that they see benefits to being able to attend more conferences, meetings, and CME events virtually. In addition, 35% of the respondents said that embracing virtual events leads to better overall patient care.


Despite the gap between interest in and adoption of digital technology, some medical professionals assert that virtual events, as well as use of smartphones and tablet PCs, are becoming unavoidable. Dr. Brian Schwartz, a cardiologist with Wellesley Primary Care Medicine in Wellesley, Massachusetts, told InformationWeek Healthcare, “Some of the technology is becoming increasingly mandated, such as the use of electronic records and electronic billing. The way you have to run your practice now is electronic.”

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