Survey: Physicians trust mobile content more than nurses do

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 23, 2012        

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Source: Enspektos

A recent survey conducted by digital health communications firm Enspektos found that physicians are more likely than nurses to find medical information in mobile apps credible. Of the more than 100 physicians surveyed, about 70 percent said that mobile apps were a very credible or highly credible, while only about 46 percent of the 100 nurses surveyed were as trusting. Interestingly, while a greater percentage (76 percent) of physicians said the same for medical websites, the gap was smaller for this channel, which 69 percent of nurses said was very credible or highly credible.

Pharmacists fell in the middle. Of the 100 pharmacists surveyed, 61 percent said mobile apps were very or highly credible sources of medical information, while 71 percent said the same for medical websites.

The survey also found that about 85 percent of each group leveraged medical websites frequently or very frequently for health information. Only 55 percent of physicians said they used mobile frequently or very frequently, and that dropped to 34 percent of nurses. About half of those pharmacists polled said they frequently or very frequently use mobile apps for information.

Enspektos frames the poll as one that gets at the differences between perception and reality when it comes to digital sources for healthcare providers. It’s curious that the physicians view mobile medical content as less credible than websites, especially since most popular websites now have mobile versions or apps that provide medical reference information. Small survey but interesting fodder.

More metrics can be found in Enspektos’ infographic here.

  • pauldixey

    were the physicians and nurses both  evaluating the same apps?

  • MobiHealthNews

    As I understand it, the question was just about their perception of the information provided through each channel — no specific apps in particular entered the discussion.

  • pauldixey

    so the difference could be explained by the apps they evaluated rather than whether one group was more “trusting” than the other. 

  • MobiHealthNews

    No apps were evaluated. I gather the pollster asked a question along the lines of: “How credible are mobile medical apps as sources for information?” Pure perception grounded only by the nurses/doctors’ past experiences. 

    Nurses perceive mobile apps to be less credible than docs. Are the currently available apps for nurses not of the same quality as those intended for use by docs? (I’d argue they use many of the same apps, though.) 

    Speculation –> Doctors may just be more familiar with mobile apps so they trust them more, while nurses have been slower to adopt and are still unfamiliar and more distrustful. 

    As I wrote above, good fodder for discussion, but not a scientific study, of course.

  • pauldixey

    and the nurses perhaps don’t have access to the same tech e.g. latest smart phones and tablets? As you say good fodder for discussion and further study

  • Fard Johnmar


    Fard from Enspektos here.  I appreciate you highlighting our study and your comments. 

    Brian, you are correct in your assessment.  Participants weren’t asked to evaluate specific mobile applications, but whether they felt health/medical content delivered via these channels (online/mobile) was credible.  Respondents were asked to rate these information sources using a five point scale.  Answers for the two highest choices (credible and very credible) are displayed in the infographic.

    Regarding the perception-reality gap, this data point focused on what we found — among physicians in particular — who were asked to rate the credibility of health and medical content on a variety of topics they encountered via social and online media.  This data was collected immediately after they consumed this information (via PC and laptop computer devices).  We found among the physician population that recalled perceptions of social medical content’s credibility differed from their response when they actually read this information.  You’ll find this data on the lower half of the infographic.

    We’re going to continue gathering data on these types of issues — albeit in a representative U.S. population of active digital health consumers.  More details on this research will become available in September. 

    Thanks again.  If you have any other questions about the research, please pass them my way.

    Fard Johnmar
    Enspektos, LLC 

  • Simon Sikorski MD

    What’s considered a health website? There are significant differences in opinion about definitions

  • Jane Morai

    That is quite an interesting study. I believe mobile apps have a really strong place in the medical field and can be a vital asset for both nurses and doctors, especially apps that have a social component that will allow nurses to communicate vital information to one another while they work in the hospital together.