Smartphone use by government dermatology practitioners in Kuwait: a self-reported questionnaire based cross-sectional study.

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Smartphone use by government dermatology practitioners in Kuwait: a self-reported questionnaire based cross-sectional study.

BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2019 Aug 05;19(1):155

Authors: Buabbas AJ, Sharma P, Al-Abdulrazaq A, Shehab H

Abstract
BACKGROUND: The potential for smartphones to revolutionize the way that medical doctors practice has become a reality, particularly in specialities where visual examination is a principal step in assessing a medical case, like dermatology. Smartphones as devices hold similar capabilities to personal computers and laptops and could play an important role in supporting medical practitioners in clinical practice at the point of care and beyond. This study aimed to assess the role of smartphone technology use in dermatology practice in Kuwait, together with the potential of digital photography and users’ concerns.
METHODS: This cross-sectional survey involved a population of dermatology practitioners of all levels working in 11 dermatology centers distributed across six health regions in Kuwait. A validated self-reported questionnaire was used to collect data from the participants about their smartphone use. Quantitative analytical methods were undertaken to analyse the questionnaire responses.
RESULTS: A total of 210 dermatologists were approached in their workplaces. Of these, 101 (48%) responded to the survey questionnaire, with a mean age of 39.1 years (±10.7 SD) and equal representation from both genders. All the respondents were using smartphone technology, wherein 94.1% used it to access medical information through various Internet search engines. The most prevalent applications used were medical and drug reference applications (69.3 and 66.3%, respectively). In all, 65% of the dermatologists were using smartphones to take clinical photographs of patients for special purposes, and this type of usage was significantly higher (p < 0.05) among females and those older than 40.
CONCLUSION: This study concludes that smartphone technology has an impactful role in dermatology practice, and many of its functions can be employed to achieve better practice and better patient care. Recommendations are suggested for clinicians using smartphones in dermatology practice.

PMID: 31382971 [PubMed – in process]