January 25, 2013 — Mobile drug reference app provider Epocrates recently conducted its annual survey of cardiologists to uncover the biggest trends and challenges facing them today. The survey explores their perspectives on a range of issues related to patient care, healthcare technology usage/adoption and practice concerns. Following are some highlights from the survey findings.
Tablet Growth Continues
More than one in three cardiologists use a tablet in practice. Of those who use a tablet, two-thirds chose the Apple iPad, and 45 percent are planning to purchase the iPad mini.
Take Two Apps and Call Me in the Morning
It’s not just medications that are being prescribed to patients. About 45 percent of cardiologists now recommend mobile apps to their patients. More than 70 percent suggest patient education apps, with lifestyle change tools coming in at 55 percent. Patient apps such as calorie counters/trackers, weight loss trackers, fitness apps, drug information and other educational apps are among the top tools docs suggest to their patients.
Despite this, more than 50 percent of physicians say they are not sure which apps are good to share.
Obesity Remains a Critical Problem
Despite programs to help Americans get and stay healthy, more than 75 percent of cardiologists believe the percentage of clinically obese people has increased in the past five years. The survey also revealed that one in three cardiologists report that at least 50 percent of their patient population is obese.
It’s Not Just About the Medicine
The greatest challenge for cardiologists is uncertainly about government regulations (49 percent). Lack of work/life balance (44 percent), lower reimbursements (38 percent) and increasing costs to practice medicine (37 percent) were the next biggest concerns.
Tying into all of this is an increasing stress level for docs. More than 90 percent of respondents agreed that their stress level has grown over the years, with about two-thirds indicating moderate or significant growth.
Fragmented Care a Huge Concern
Cardiologists reported that fragmented care is far-and-away the biggest challenge patients face today. This is on-par with the thoughts of physicians in other specialties, such as oncology and psychiatry, who agree that fragmented care is their top concern for patients.