Although the PDA is the most common device used, outpatient physicians are much more open to using the heavier Tablet PC, which has a keyboard and larger screen. Overall, 20 percent of such physicians surveyed for the report use Tablet PCs, up over fourfold from a similar survey in 2003. When asked whether a Tablet PC is suitable for daily clinical use, over three-quarters thought it is, compared with just under half of physicians who work in hospitals. Outpatient physicians are also twice as likely to use a Tablet PC than their hospital-based counterparts.Part of the difference, Malkary said, is that hospital physicians walk farther from their offices when doing rounds and are more likely to access computer terminals spread throughout the hospitals, sometimes even at patients bedsides. "In a hospital-based environment, the need for mobile computing seems to be less," Malkary said. "Hospital docs look at this as carrying around a brick with them." Ultimately, he said, the right device depends on environment, complexity, personal preference and tasks. The Spyglass report, "Healthcare Without Bounds: Mobile Computing for Physicians," is based on interviews with 102 tech-savvy physicians conducted toward the end of 2004. Malkary said that Spyglass Consulting did not receive outside funding to conduct the research. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis of technologys impact on health care.
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