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Smartphones and family physicians – a study from Canada

Director, Digital Insight

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The good folks at Prism Healthcare Intelligence have done a study that gathered answers from 792 Canadian family physicians to see how many use smartphones and what actions they perform on them.

They used fax to ensure they got an accurate number of non-smartphone users and asked only five questions to get a robust return rate. They also targeted those who:

The reasoning for the premeditated selection bias is that these are the physicians in which their customers are most interested. The survey was run between February and March, 2012.

Smartphone Penetration

67% of family physicians currently own a smartphone. This number is up 12% from May 2011 (from the Prizm study done nearly a year ago) which shows the inexorable progression of smartphones into the physician market. This number is also higher than the 45% penetration in the general population.

iPhone Dominates

The current smartphones that family physicians use are:

When asked what they want to use as their next phone, Prizm got an even stronger iPhone sentiment:

Sorry, Blackberry, but even in your home market of Canada the doctors are turning towards the iPhone. The Prizm researchers speculate this is because physicians have a low tolerance for technical issues and have the cash to afford Apple products.

Smartphone Usage

So, if 2/3 of physicians have smartphones, and most of them are iPhones, what can we expect them to do with these devices?

Notice that among the expected activities such as email and text messages we found both web browsing and apps. This points toward the debate in marketing circles between investing in mobile-optimized websites vs. platform apps. The results here are inconclusive.

Activities Performed

The study finished off with the activities that physicians performed with their smartphones.

When compared to data from Manhattan Research the Canadian numbers line up closely with their US counterparts.

When looking at the apps used and desired by physicians, Prizm breaks it down to three types:

This study is a valuable resource and we thank the good folks at Prism Healthcare Intelligence for allowing us to make this publicly available.

More About the Author

Brad Einarsen

Brad is Klick's Director of Digital Insight, supporting our Strategy, Accounts, and New Business groups to gather, disseminate, and make accessible knowledge about our clients, their products, and the markets in which they operate.

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