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Nov 16, 2011

Healthcare Practices Embrace Mobile Technologies, New CompTIA Research Reveals

Tablets and medical apps usage on the rise; remote access to EMR/EHR data a priority

Downers Grove, Ill., November 16, 2011 – Mobile health (mHealth) is becoming more of a reality as medical practices increasingly embrace mobile technologies, according to a new study by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the information technology (IT) industry.

While laptop and notebook PCs are commonplace in the medical community, the next wave of mobile adoption is well underway as providers turn to tablets, smartphones and applications to increase productivity and improve patient care, according to CompTIA’s Third Annual Healthcare IT Insights and Opportunities study.

“As mobile devices and applications have become more user-friendly, affordable and powerful, the appeal to businesses of all types, including healthcare providers, has grown exponentially,” said Tim Herbert, vice president, research, CompTIA.

One-quarter of healthcare providers surveyed report currently using tablets within their practice. Another 21 percent  expect to do so within 12 months. More than half of healthcare professionals surveyed currently use a smartphone for work purposes.

Presently, about 38 percent of physicians with a mobile device capable of supporting applications use medical-related apps on a daily basis. Over the next 12 months, physicians expect to increase usage of medical apps to the point where 50 percent are using them daily.

Two-thirds of the healthcare providers surveyed by CompTIA said implementing or improving their use of mobile technologies is a high or mid-level priority in the next 12 months.

Mobility and EMR/EHR
CompTIA data indicates that almost one-third of providers currently use their smartphones or tablets to access Electronic Medical Records or Electronic Health Records (EMR/EHR) systems, with 20 percent expecting to start engaging in this mobile usage within the next year.

“Many healthcare practices continue to move along the EMR/EHR learning curve,” Herbert stated. “With any significant business transformation, hiccups will occur along the way.”

Overall adoption of EMR/EHR systems is also on the rise: 38 percent of healthcare providers have a comprehensive system in place and 17 percent have a partial system or module. Among the practices reporting have a complete EMR/EHR system in place, users gave a 61 percent net satisfaction rating. That’s a respectable figure, but one that also indicates there’s room for improvement in areas such as greater ease of use; better interoperability with other systems; faster speeds; improved remote access and mobility features; and more training.

Cloud Computing, Telemedicine Still in Early Stages
Adoption of cloud computing solutions in the healthcare industry is clearly in its early stages. The CompTIA study finds low familiarity (57 percent) and even lower usage (5 percent). It’s worth noting, though, that some healthcare providers are likely using cloud-based applications, like software-as-a-service, and not thinking of it as cloud computing.

Despite the low awareness, the potential for cloud growth is strong. A key component of EMR/EHR meaningful use is the ability to share information (Health Information Exchange), which will require flexibility, scalability, big data capacity, redundancy and robustness. In other words, many of the elements of cloud computing. Healthcare providers with some level of cloud familiarity express relatively strong interest in cloud-based EMR/EHR systems and storage or data back-up.

The CompTIA study also suggests that widespread use of telemedicine is still a ways off. Just 14 percent of healthcare professionals report actively following news and trends in telemedicine. At the other end of the spectrum, 37 percent expressed little interest in the topic.

Healthcare providers see the greatest benefits of telemedicine in the areas of continuing medical education (cited by 61 percent of those surveyed), specialist referral services (44 percent) and patient consultations (37 percent). One in ten healthcare providers surveyed say they intend to use video conferencing for patient interaction within the next 12 months.

CompTIA’s Third Annual Healthcare IT Insights and Opportunities study is based on separate online surveys of 350 doctors, dentists and other healthcare providers or administrators; and 400 IT firms with healthcare IT practices. Both surveys were conducted in late July and early August 2011. Results of the IT industry portion of the study will be published at a later date.The complete report is available at no cost to CompTIA members who can access the file at www.CompTIA.org or by contacting research@comptia.org.

In addition to comprehensive market research, CompTIA offers the IT industry a broad selection of other resources related to the healthcare IT market, including:

• The CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician specialty certification for IT professionals, a credential that covers the knowledge and skills required to implement, deploy and support healthcare IT systems in various clinical settings.
• The CompTIA Healthcare IT Community, a group of industry leaders who work collectively to create standards, best practices and educational resources for IT businesses engaged in serving healthcare customers.
• CompTIA IT Channel Training, a full portfolio of live workshops, on-demand webinars, printed and downloadable training guides and other resources for IT companies active in or contemplating entering the healthcare market.
• A whitepaper that calls for greater IT industry involvement in the implementation of new healthcare IT solutions.

About CompTIA
CompTIA is the voice of the world’s information technology (IT) industry. As a non-profit trade association advancing the global interests of IT professionals and companies, CompTIA is the recognized authority for IT education and credentials and the primary advocate for IT businesses and workers. Through its foundation, CompTIA also enables disadvantaged populations to gain the skills they need for employment in the IT industry.  CompTIA’s vision of the IT landscape is shaped by more than 25 years of global perspective and more than 2,000 members and 1,000 business partners. For more information, visit www.comptia.org or follow CompTIA on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/comptia

Contact:
Steven Ostrowski
Director, Corporate Communications
CompTIA
630-678-8468
sostrowski@comptia.org