Four out of 5 Doctors Buying iPads this Year, Says Study?! Nope.

Eric Lai, Senior Writer | March 29, 2011 in Mobile Data and Messaging,Mobile Industry,Mobility | Comments (1)

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“Reporters are ‘word people’,” is the excuse given whenever stats are misreported by the media. Well, maybe I’m just > \mu~\pm~2\sigma *, but I was a journalist AND captain of my high school math team.

So misreported/misinterpreted surveys and stats bug me. Case in point: CNBC had an otherwise well-reported article last week called ‘The iPad is Tops with Doctors.’ It had some interesting anecdotes from doctors talking up the iPad’s usefulness when on their rounds seeing patients.

“I definitely feel lost when I don’t have this [iPad] on a shift,” the director of emergency medicine at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center told CNBC.

Being able to immediately pull up x-rays and diagrams at patients’ bedside helps doctors relate to their patients, said another Beth Israel doctor.

“The number of times I’ve had patients say to me ‘That’s the first time I’ve understood my disease’ — I mean, it happens all the time to me. To me, that’s validation as a doctor,” he said.

As key evidence supporting this trend piece, the reporter cited two statistics: According to Chilmark Research, 22% of US doctors in the U.S. were using iPads by the end of 2010. With about 820,000 active doctors in the U.S., that would be almost 181,000 doctors toting about an iPad.

That’s impressive, but nothing compared to the second stat, credited to mobile vendor Aptilon: 4 out of 5 U.S. doctors plan to buy an iPad this year.

That stat seemed too good to be true.

And it was: according to the press release for the survey, 79% of doctors said that if asked to choose, they *preferred* an iPad over Windows PC and Android-based tablets (which garnered 12% and 9%, respectively).

Aptilon, to its credit, wasn’t trying to fool anyone. In fact, it says the survey indicates within the next 12 months, about 38% of U.S. doctors will own an iPad. Or four out of 10, or half of what CNBC said.

Despite that statistical error, I wholeheartedly believe that MobiHealth and Health 2.0 are taking off. Check out the excellent MobiHealthNews for evidence.

At Sybase, healthcare is one of the vertical industries that we see embracing our mobility products (the other industry we are targeting now is insurance. The large number of field workers makes mobility attractive to them). Expect Sybase and SAP to announce as early as SAPPHIRE some health-specific business apps that we’ll be delivering ASAP afterward.

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* Means ‘greater than two standard deviations from the mean’, or different from 95% of the referenced population. Or in plain English, a weirdo.

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