95% of nurses own a smartphone, and 88% use smartphone apps at work – a higher percentage than doctors – and they’re working to improve patient care with them


The new “doctor on call” to many nurses just may be a smartphone app, according to data just released by InCrowd, provider of real-time market intelligence from validated experts. The results quantify the expanding role of the smartphone by nurses in enabling better patient interactions at the point of care.
95% of nurses responding via microsurvey last week owned a smartphone, and 88% of them used their smartphone apps in their daily nursing work. This is a higher figure than recent reports that 78% of medical residents owned a smartphone and 67% used it in clinical care1. Bedside access to drug interactions, clinical data dominated nurse smartphone use with 73% looking up drug information on that device. Some 72% used smartphone apps to look up various diseases and disorders.
Other time-saving uses of smartphones not related to apps – such as staying in touch with colleagues in their hospital (69%) – typified the multifaceted role that the smartphone is playing in day to day patient care, making a nurse’s work a little easier. Nurses reported using their smartphones for fast access to patient care information across a wide range of daily nursing tactics, from receiving patient photos of a rash to setting a timer for meds administration.
While respondents stressed that smartphones “enhance but don’t substitute” the need for a physician consult prior to administering care, 52% of nurses reported using their smart phone instead of asking a question of a nursing colleague, according to a subset of users probed in greater detail about their phone use. This was particularly the case if a medication, illness or symptom was unfamiliar.
“The hospital gets very busy and there isn’t always someone available to bounce ideas off of,” said one respondent. “It’s often easier to get the information needed using my smartphone – I don’t have to wait for a response from a coworker,” said another nurse.
In the survey 32% of RNs said they used their smartphone instead of asking a physician, explaining how doing so saved time such as “in patient homecare situations when I need quick answers without making a bunch of phone calls,” or “so I can make an educated suggestion to the doctor.”
Interestingly, nurse smartphone adoption is taking place regardless of whether employers are covering the cost. Some 87% of nurses in the follow up survey responded that their employer does not cover any of the costs related to their smartphone. 9% of RNs were reimbursed for the cost of the monthly bill, 1% received coverage for the cost of the smartphone itself, but only 3% had the cost of both a smartphone and their monthly bill covered by their employer. Less than 1% reported their hospital prohibited nurses from using smartphones during their shift.
InCrowd’s insights came from some 241 nurses in its “Crowd” of over 1.8 million verified clinicians in the US reached over a 2-hour window on May 30th.
“As a former nurse I know the daily distractions that can take a nurse away from patients – and how freeing technology can be if we let it,” said Janet Kosloff, CEO and co-founder of InCrowd. “InCrowd uses mobile technology to query respondents, potentially inflating these percentages since one could argue that mobile phone users are more apt to answer our surveys. However, with such significantly higher percentages of use than other studies, and numerous write-in responses detailing nurses’ enthusiasm for specific apps and why, our results show that nurses are actively using smartphones to free themselves for what is ultimately better patient care.”
About InCrowd
InCrowd provides real-time market intelligence from validated experts, connecting life sciences companies directly with prescribers, patients, and other screened and validated healthcare professionals around the globe. Our easy-to-use proprietary web-based application allows clients to ask questions of specific respondent groups – “Crowds” – in the form of 2-5 minute online microsurveys. Responses are available in real time through a password-protected account, with the needed answers delivered within hours or days, not weeks and months.
Today, InCrowd has 18 of the top 20 pharmaceutical firms as customers and has just finished its most successful quarter in company history with a record number of answers delivered to clients. Through its powerful mobile microsurvey methodology and analytics engine, InCrowd enables clients to reach 1.8M healthcare professionals on-demand throughout the United States and around the globe in 20 languages. For more information, visit www.incrowdnow.com.