Pharma insight on digital marketing, social media, mobile apps, online video, websites and interactive healthcare tools
by Dominic Tyer
Despite the seeming ubiquity of smartphones, less than half of UK healthcare professionals use mobile apps to help them in their working lives, according to a new study.
Cegedim Strategic Data surveyed 675 healthcare professionals (HCPs) across a wide range of specialties earlier this year and found that 44 per cent used mobile apps.
The healthcare research company said the number of HCPs using apps specifically tailored for healthcare professional use was higher in secondary care than primary care (46 per cent compared to 37 per cent).
The study also found that awareness of the technology currently outstrips its use, with nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of those surveyed aware of mobile applications for professional use.
Awareness, too, was higher amongst secondary care physicians than in primary care (67 per cent compared to 55 per cent), and the highest scoring group here was rheumatologists - 89 per cent of whom were aware of mobile apps.
Amongst those HCPs that were aware of mobile applications, 11 per cent recommended them to patients, a level of endorsement that was the same across both primary and secondary care.
However, diabetes specialist nurses were significantly more likely to recommend mobile applications to patients than all other specialties (64 per cent) and consequently the most frequently recommended applications overall were related to diabetes or general dietary/fitness advice.
Pharmaceutical companies have steadily launched mobile apps over the last couple of years and the Digital Handbook currently lists 36 examples specifically for HCPs.
Most of these apps are specific to a particular therapy or a certain test or calculation and consequently should not be expected to have broad appeal across the medical profession.
This likely holds true in the face of Cegedim Strategic Data's finding that pharmaceutical sales representative promotion of mobile applications “was not recalled widely by HCPs”. But whether pharma uses on- and off-line channels to promote its apps effectively is another question altogether.
Cegedim Strategic Data surveyed 675 UK healthcare professionals between May and June 2012. Respondents were drawn from general practice, pharmacy, practice nurses and then specialties such as clinical oncology and diabetes and endocrinology.