Point of Care Communications for Physicians

Publication Date:           July 2010
Number of Pages:          91
Number of figures:         34
Report Price:                 $2,495 U.S. Dollars
enterprise pricing available upon request

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Introduction  (download paper overview)

Point of Care Communications for Physicians presents the findings
of an end-user market study focused on how physicians across the
United States are rapidly adopting mobile communications at point of
care to improve communications and collaboration, streamline
productivity, and enhance patient care and safety.

Point of Care Communications for Physicians is an outgrowth of a
similar study published by Spyglass in November 2006 entitled Trends in
Mobile Communications.  Throughout this report, Spyglass will compare
and contrast interesting trends identified across both studies.  

Content for
Point of Care Communications for Physicians was
derived from more than 100 in-depth interviews with physicians working
in acute care and ambulatory environments nationwide.  Physicians
interviewed were technically competent and representative of a broad
range of medical specialties, organization types, and organization sizes.

The telephone interviews were conducted over a three-month period
starting in February 2010. The purpose of the interviews was to identify
the needs and requirements for mobile communications at point of care
through discussions about
•        existing workflow inefficiencies in communicating with colleagues,
care team members, and patients,
•        current usage models for mobile communications devices and
solutions, and
•        barriers for widespread mobile communications adoption.

Spyglass also evaluated key vendor product offerings and identified
early adopter organizations that have successfully deployed these

Target Audience

  • Software and hardware vendors, systems integrators and
    management consulting groups who are selling hardware,
    applications and services into the healthcare industry
  • Healthcare administrators and IT executives who are making
    strategic decision to fund clinical information technology solutions
  • Clinicians who are involved in informatics and clinical system
    evaluation and selection
  • Investment bankers and private equity investors


Mobile communications are poised to revolutionize the way physicians
can communicate with colleagues, care team members, and patients to
improve collaboration, streamline productivity, and enhance patient care
and safety.  With these mobile solutions, physicians can:
•        communicate via voice, text messaging and e-mail,
•        determine care team member availability and status,
•        access hospital directory services, and
•        review patient information

There are more than 650,000 physicians in the United States.  Many of
them are mobile professionals who are constantly on the go as they
travel between their offices, clinics, exam rooms, and corridors of
affiliated hospitals.  They work in high-stress data intensive
environments dominated by inefficient paper-based workflow processes
where they have a constant need to communicate with colleagues and to
access relevant patient information regardless of their physical location.  
As physicians are taking care of more patients with higher acuity levels,
it is becoming increasingly difficult to communicate with them in a timely

Physicians experiencing difficulties connecting with colleagues.  
Seventy-eight percent of physicians interviewed were experiencing
difficulties accessing and communicating with colleagues in a timely
manner. Physicians are busy mobile professionals who are constantly on
the go and are not always available when they are needed.  Physicians
also lack financial incentives to be more accessible because the current
fee-for-service reimbursement system encourages physicians to focus
on the quantity vs. the quality of healthcare delivered.  Non-essential
phone or e-mail communications with colleagues and patients are seen
as non-reimbursable distractions.  

Physician smartphone adoption experiencing significant growth.  
Ninety-four percent of physicians interviewed were using smartphones to
communicate, manage personal/business workflows, and access
information including medical reference materials.  Physician
smartphone adoption is occurring more rapidly than with the general
public which is evidenced by a recent AT&T announcement reporting 42
percent of their subscribers were using smartphones.  Forty-four percent
of physicians interviewed using smartphones had adopted the Apple
iPhone followed by 25 percent who had adopted the RIM Blackberry.  

Physicians overwhelmed by the volume of incoming
 Physicians interviewed report they are overwhelmed
by the daily volume of communications received from colleagues, care
team members, and patients.  They lack automated tools to manage
voice mail, pager messages, SMS messages, and electronic mail.  They
are forced to continually check separate data silos and manually filter
and prioritize communications based upon sender, subject and priority.  
Critical communications easily fall through the cracks.  

Physicians lack standardized processes to coordinate patient
 Fifty-six percent of physicians interviewed were concerned about
lack of standardized processes for transitioning care between
colleagues.  Patient hand off process used by hospital-based physicians
and the patient referral process used by community-based physicians
are informal and ad hoc which can introduce medical errors into the
patient care process.
Spyglass Consulting Group
Market Intelligence for Competitive Advantage