Pharma insight on digital marketing, social media, mobile apps, online video, websites and interactive healthcare tools
by Dominic Tyer
Twenty six per cent of European doctors own an iPad and they spend over a quarter of their professional online time on the device, according to new research.
Manhattan Research's online survey of 1,207 practicing physicians in Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK found iPad owners spent 27 per cent of their work online time on them.
iPad-owning doctors used desktops and laptops for 55 per cent of their professional internet use and smartphones for the remaining 18 per cent.
Ownership of the devices among doctors was highest in the UK (31 per cent), followed by Germany and France (both 28 per cent), Italy (21 per cent) and then Spain (20 per cent).
The Taking the Pulse Europe study, which was carried out in the fourth quarter of 2011, also found that 40 per cent of doctors surveyed said they planned to purchase an iPad within the next six months.
Manhattan Research told PMLiVE the adoption rates for European Union primary care physicians (GPs and doctors of family medicine and internal medicine) and European Union specialists (cardiologists, ophthalmologists, etc) were both 26 per cent.
The analysts found that iPad owners primarily use their devices to look up information, browse articles, and watch videos and said physicians showed “significant interest in using iPads to manage and educate their patients”.
Christina Anthogalidis, principal analyst at Manhattan Research, said: “We discovered that iPad-owning physicians spend an impressive 27 per cent of their professional online time on the device, likely replacing desktop time and probably some offline media time too.
“Use of these devices at the point-of-care to educate patients and manage records is also promising at this stage.”
She told PMLiVE that as increasing numbers of doctors in Europe buy iPads the pharmaceutical industry needs to develop products and services for tablets that help them with their work.
Apple singlehandedly kick started the tablet boom with the April 2010 launch of the iPad and has dominated the market ever since, with the only question being exactly how high are iPad sales.
Pharma has experimented with producing iPad-specific content aimed at healthcare professionals, with apps available from companies like AstraZeneca (Lung Cancer – EGFR mutation testing), Janssen (MARS – Medication Adherence Rating Scale) and Vertex (CF Gene for iPad).
But Pfizer's withdrawal last autumn of its Rheumatology Calculator iPhone and Android app, pulled after errors were found in its calculation formulas, highlighted the need to consider whether pharma apps are medical devices.
The Pfizer Rheumatology Calculator app was available from the Apple App Sotre and Google Android Market between April 2011 and October 2011. It was withdrawn after it was found to give values for the DAS28-ESR calculation – a disease activity score – that were 15-20 per cent higher than the published formula. Errors were also found with DAS28-CRP, PASI and Framingham scores.
Writing to UK doctors in October, Pfizer UK's medical director Dr Berkeley Phillips said they should stop using the app, delete it from their device and review any calculations made using the Rheumatology Calculator.