By Greg McInerney, Editorial Assistant
“Give us more technology” cry physicians across America. At least according to a recent report jointly published by communications company ON24 and MedData, a health care research firm.
The April 2012 Joint Survey of Physician Digital Behavior certainly produced some telling results. Of the 971 participants surveyed, 84.1% would prefer to attend continuing medical education (CME) training online, followed by:
- Pharmaceutical Education – 31.6%
- Dinner Meetings – 29.4%
- Medical Device Training – 27.1%
Yet despite this demand, the supply of digital training content has not been forthcoming. Only 6.4% of those surveyed actually participated in virtual training or any type of virtual event very often.
Bill Reinstein, president of MedData believes the reason for this is quite simple. “We found that physicians simply will not take time out of their busy days to consume this digital content if it is at the expense of their patient care or their revenue,” he said in an interview, adding “This is reflected in the fact that 63% would prefer early evening times for this type of virtual training.”
Virtual training providers have to sit up and take notice of this sooner or later. Three quarters of doctors reported seeing an increase in the number of virtual events and webcasts offered, and nearly all doctors (96.1%) say it’s beneficial to attend more conferences, meetings and CME events virtually.
There also appears to be a strong desire to experience this digital training “on the go,” a trend that was stressed by speakers at last year’s HealthMart conference in reference to providing EHR training for physicians. Mobile devices will naturally be integral to this and, unsurprisingly, the iPad comes out on top with nearly three quarters of physicians surveyed planning to buy one in the next six months.
The disparity between the physicians’ demand for virtual training and the current level of adoption is perhaps the most intriguing finding in this report. It represents big opportunities across the board, according to Reinstein.
“That opportunity gap is good news for pretty much everyone across the health ecosystem,” he said. “Of course it represents a short term problem, but also a long term opportunity for everyone from the providers of online training to pharmaceutical companies.”