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Doctors increasingly using smartphones for work

Tuesday 10th November 2015
Smartphones and apps are changing the face of healthcare. Image credit: Thinkstock/iStock
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Doctors in the UK are increasingly using their smartphones at work for professional purposes, according to new research.

A report from Cello Health Insight shows that 82 per cent of doctors in Britain regularly use their phones to help with diagnosis or information management - the highest number in Europe.

The survey found that 63 per cent of doctors have regularly dealt with patients who have self-diagnosed themselves via the internet, while 28 per cent are often met with requests for specific medication that patients have researched online.

In a bid to prevent individuals from coming to their surgeries misinformed about their health, doctors are trying to get more involved in online patient forums, often using their smartphones to do so.

Paul Mannu, director at Cello Health Insight, commented: "What is really interesting is how digital technology is bringing healthcare professionals closer to patients.

"Doctors might actually see online diagnosis prior to the consultation as an opportunity, especially in cases such as the unnecessary prescribing of antibiotics."

Furthermore, doctors are increasingly communicating with their patients via text message, with 26 per cent regularly doing this. However, telephone was the most popular way for GPs to speak to their patients at 85 per cent, while email came in at 38 per cent.

It was also found that just one-third (33 per cent) of doctors said they would recommend a health-related app to their patients, which suggests these cannot always be 100 per cent trusted and that individuals should always seek professional advice if they are concerned about their health.

Yet with figures from Ofcom showing that 66 per cent of UK adults own a smartphone, apps play a big part in many people's lives and 43 per cent of doctors believe they could eventually "be a game-changer in improving health outcomes in patients".

However, doctors explained that unless patients use apps consistently, the data collected within them may not be 100 per cent accurate, with 15 per cent of GPs concerned about this.

Written by James Puckle

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