Doctors Want to Access Pharmaceutical Data on iPads, Smartphones

Doctors have demonstrated an interest in accessing pharmaceutical drug marketing materials on smartphones and the Apple iPad, according to a Manhattan Research study.

Physicians are interested in online video presentations about pharmaceuticals on their smartphones and tablets such as the Apple iPad, according to a new study by Manhattan Research.

In the study "ePharma Physician 11.0," the firm found that 45 percent of ePharma physicians would like to access pharmaceutical product information on their smartphone or iPad instead of live in-person meetings. ePharma physicians are those doctors who are connected to pharmaceutical resources online. They make up 87 percent of physicians, Manhattan Research reports.

The company's "ePharma Physician" survey examines physician behavior as it relates to pharmaceutical tactics. It studies how tablet presentations affect clinical decisions.

Doctors use online resources 66 percent of the time to research information on pharmaceuticals, according to the firm.

Meanwhile, 52 of physicians surveyed prefer the pharmaceutical information to be spread out among PCs, smartphones and tablets.

With doctors using mobile devices for practice management, to access EHRs (electronic health records) and to monitor patient conditions, receiving marketing pitches from pharmaceutical reps online is another use case that works for them, according to Monique Levy, vice president of research at Manhattan Research.

Pharmaceutical reps pitch doctors in presentations called video details, in which they inform them about the background of the latest medications and how they can help patients. The presentations may involve a roundtable of experts or information about clinical trials.

"Physicians are interested in having these experiences on their mobile devices," Levy told eWEEK. "We're in the very early stages, and pharma is trying to roll these out aggressively."

Two-thirds of doctors prefer to research pharmaceutical resources online, according to the study. "Physicians want access to online details and presentations about products on their smartphones and iPads-including experiences, which include live elements like live video or voice," Levy said. "Getting service and learning on the go seems to come naturally for busy docs."

Because physicians don't actively seek out presentations from pharmaceutical representatives, doctors' interest in viewing the drug campaigns on mobile devices is encouraging, according to Levy.

"Physicians aren't banging down pharma's door for these utilities," she said. "Pharma works hard to get physicians to engage with them, so this is a very positive sign."

For doctors, they may refer to the pharmaceutical information on a smartphone or iPad to compare drugs on their mobile device on the way to the operating room, Levy said.

Manhattan Research plans a Webinar Aug. 11 to discuss the "ePharma Physician" study further.

As for which mobile devices doctors go for, 75 percent of physicians prefer the Apple iPhone and iPad over competing platforms, such as Google Android, RIM BlackBerry and Microsoft Windows Phone 7, according to a Manhattan Research report unveiled May 4.

The company's annual "Taking the Pulse U.S. 11.0" survey studies doctors' use of the Web, mobile devices and other technology tools.

In addition to helping doctors decide on which drugs to prescribe, mobile devices allow patients to take their medication more consistently, according to a recent adherence study conducted by George Washington University. Funded by Qualcomm, the study examined the use of Vocel Pill Phone application to see if patients would benefit from audio or visual medication reminders, or track their dosages.