Smartphone and medical related App use among medical students and junior doctors in the United Kingdom (UK): a regional survey

Payne, Karl Frederick Braekkan, Wharrad, Heather and Watts, Kim (2012) Smartphone and medical related App use among medical students and junior doctors in the United Kingdom (UK): a regional survey. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 12 (121). ISSN 1472-6947

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Background: Smartphone usage has spread to many settings including that of healthcare with numerous potential

and realised benefits. The ability to download custom-built software applications (apps) has created a new wealth

of clinical resources available to healthcare staff, providing evidence-based decisional tools to reduce medical errors.

Previous literature has examined how smartphones can be utilised by both medical student and doctor

populations, to enhance educational and workplace activities, with the potential to improve overall patient care.

However, this literature has not examined smartphone acceptance and patterns of medical app usage within the

student and junior doctor populations.

Methods: An online survey of medical student and foundation level junior doctor cohorts was undertaken within

one United Kingdom healthcare region. Participants were asked whether they owned a Smartphone and if they

used apps on their Smartphones to support their education and practice activities. Frequency of use and type of

app used was also investigated. Open response questions explored participants’ views on apps that were desired or

recommended and the characteristics of apps that were useful.

Results: 257 medical students and 131 junior doctors responded, equating to a response rate of 15.0% and 21.8%

respectively. 79.0% (n=203/257) of medical students and 74.8% (n=98/131) of junior doctors owned a smartphone,

with 56.6% (n=115/203) of students and 68.4% (n=67/98) of doctors owning an iPhone.

The majority of students and doctors owned 1–5 medical related applications, with very few owning more than 10,

and iPhone owners significantly more likely to own apps (Chi sq, p<0.001). Both populations showed similar trends

of app usage of several times a day. Over 24hours apps were used for between 1–30 minutes for students and

1–20 minutes for doctors, students used disease diagnosis/management and drug reference apps, with doctors

favouring clinical score/calculator apps.

Conclusions: This study found a high level of smartphone ownership and usage among medical students and

junior doctors. Both groups endorse the development of more apps to support their education and clinical


Item Type: Article
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Snowden, Ms Diane
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2014 10:14
Last Modified: 08 May 2020 11:01

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