No Friday here at TA’s New York office would be complete without a projection or prediction, most of which are treated to a gimlet eye. By now our readers have heard about the 94% of US physicians who have smartphones and use them in medical practice. Neil Versel in FierceMobileHealthcare this week called this number ‘astounding’ and it surely is. By comparison, scroll down in his ‘related articles’ to his report on a March study [TA 9 Mar]—which had a projection of 81% by 2012 (Manhattan Research) from a 2009 sampling. Maybe it was Verizon’s sale on Droids and HTCs? The iPhone 4?
This editor’s [Donna] marketing side, having made numbers talk ‘n’ walk a few times, got busy. Simply put, the Spyglass Consulting release toplines ’94 percent of physicians are using smartphones’. Buried on page 2 is that their sample group (N=100) is a specialized slice: physicians in acute care and ambulatory practices–meaning hospital and clinic based. Manhattan’s group is from a broader, larger tracking study (N=1900), drawn from ‘a nationally representative sample of…practicing US physicians’. It is also a year old. So the Spyglass sample is not and cannot be representative of the whole–rather a ‘leading edge’ sample–but one has to dig for it. This type of disclosure should be upfront–in paragraph 1 or 2– where it’s easier to pick it up.
This editor doesn’t think the press release lead claim was deliberately misleading–only poorly written/edited and not properly qualified. Yet to this editor, it now overshadows excellent information in Spyglass’s study that may be even more important in the long term, the type you can only get from in-depth interviews: difficulty connecting with colleagues, their overwhelm on volume and data, and the lack of standardized processes to coordinate patient care.
We read hundreds of releases and write with deadlines, especially full-time editors like Neil. We leave you with a small plea: help us out and in releases, qualify/clarify your study claims up front. We’ll love you in the morning for it.