Changes in U.S. policy have accelerated the implementation and use of electronic health records (EHRs) in the practice, disrupting physician workflow and decision making. In the meanwhile, reliance on websites and apps via smartphones, tablets, and desktops has become pervasive, mostly to access information and communicate with peers, but increasingly also to share patient data and monitor patients remotely. In 2013, 90% of U.S. physicians said the internet was an indispensable source of professional information.

Other changes in practice type and prescribing autonomy are also impacting marketers. A growing share of physicians are employed by hospitals and/or part of ACOs or other models that tend to not only limit sales rep access but also impose more restrictions on prescribing choice. In 2014, two-thirds of physicians agree that restrictions from formularies and guidelines will increasingly limit their medication and treatment decisions.

Questions Answered in This Report:

  • Which devices and platforms are physicians using and how disruptive are EHRs to pharma digital resources including apps and websites? Sixty-four percent of physicians own or use smartphones, tablets, and/or desktops for professional purposes and almost three-quarters reported actively using EHRs in 2013. While EHRs are central to workflow, physicians use these platforms in concert with websites, apps, and other digital resources?

  • How are physicians using smartphones and tablets for professional resources? Smartphones shine as a problem-solving, quick-question device; desktops remain the main content creation and long-form content consumption screen, and tablets straddle both profiles. To date, mobile devices are used mainly for information and communication, not data sharing and patient management.

  • What is physician demand for pharma resources on the EHR and what are the opportunities for emerging clinical platforms? EHRs and outcomes goals driven by healthcare reform and other recent policies in the United States are transforming physician workflow and with it, marketing strategies. In 2014, leading companies are focused on optimizing formulary placement and testing copay card insertion and ways to offer patient education.


Markets covered: United States.

Primary research: online survey of 2,950. U.S. physicians.

Author(s): Monique Levy, M.A.