Kenilworth, NJ – In a recent survey by Merck, 81% of physicians said that smartphone use in their offices has had a profound impact on patient visits. While comedians and the tech-averse might assume the effect to be negative by pointing to the sheer number of kids (and parents) stumbling around waiting rooms playing Pokémon Go, the truth is actually much cheerier news.

The Good News…

The mobile impact that the survey uncovered was not one-sided, but rather pointed to both physicians and their patients leveraging digital devices to support the doctor-patient interaction. Nearly 75% of the physicians surveyed identified themselves as tech-savvy and two-thirds of this group accessed medical information more than 10 times each workday via their mobile device. This online medical information was predominantly used to inform diagnoses and treatment decisions.

While the actual face-to-face time between in doctor and patient was still limited, many of the physicians surveyed felt that the time they did get with patients was being optimized by mobile access. Nearly two thirds claimed that they share mobile medical information with their patients during appointments to help explain their diagnoses and treatment recommendations.

…and the Bad News

Not all of the insights gleaned from the survey were good news though. One-third of the physicians surveyed felt that their patients arrived misinformed thanks to misguided mobile research. Merck Manuals Editor in Chief Dr. Robert S. Porter wisely deduced that “Mobile technology is not meant to replace the patient/doctor relationship. In fact, it can enhance the office visit by allowing them to review information together, as our survey found.” For more information, please see:


Why This Matters –


As more and more physicians use the Internet in their professional life to research treatments and facilitate discussions with patients, the demand for high-quality online resources grows. Merck Manuals wisely leveraged insights from this survey to guide their decision to convert their long-standing medical reference guides into mobile-friendly digital formats for both healthcare provider and patient use.

Today many players in the healthcare industry have a similar opportunity to increase the exposure and utilization of their resources by rolling out mobile-friendly versions. In the end, these moves should help doctors, patients, and the companies that serve them.

About the Author:

Drew Beck has spent his entire career in healthcare — from direct patient care as an EMT in college to countless roles in pharma sales and global marketing for leading life science companies including Eli Lilly & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline. He is currently a leader on the Syneos Health Insights & Innovation team, a group charged with leveraging deep expertise in virtual collaboration, behavioral science, trends-based-innovation, custom research and global marketing insights.