This week Cur&#275us highlighted the work of Olufisayo Ositelu — an MD/MBA joint degree candidate at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Stanford Graduate School of Business.

In his study researching the use of smart devices, Olufisayo surveyed Stanford Hospital resident physicians in Anesthesia, Medicine, Surgery, Emergency medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Neurology — nearly 97% percent of respondents owned a smartphone and 53% percent owned a tablet.

While the use of smartphones and tablets are high among healthcare professionals, Olufisayo realized that little detail is actually known about the specific tasks related to patient care performed by physicians using mobile technology.

Olufisayo Ositelu

His study revealed the two most common uses for smart devices with 60% percent of responding physicians were communication exchanging patient care-related text messages and obtaining pharmacy or medication-related information. Some 45% percent of residents cited using their devices “as a medical reference, textbook, or as a patient care related study aid.”

It became obvious that residents who own smart devices are likely to leverage their handheld technology to deliver better patient care. But the power of these devices for physicians relies on intuitive apps that make mission critical medical information easier to access.

“A systematic review of 57 smartphone apps found that disease diagnosis, drug reference, and medical calculator applications were deemed to be most useful by healthcare professionals and medical or nursing students,” Olufisayo wrote in his paper.

In many ways, the proliferation of gadgets, apps and Web-based information is rapidly redefining medicine, opening up a new frontier of possibilities for young physicians. But some professionals are focused on the next generation of device-happy doctors becoming more caring clinicians in the era of digital technology.

“Just adding an app won’t necessarily make people better doctors or more caring clinicians,” said Dr. Paul C. Tang, chief innovation and technology officer at Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Palo Alto, Calif. “What we need to learn is how to use technology to be better, more humane professionals.”  – Source NYT

Read Olufisayo Ositelu’s entire study