By Sarah-Richelle Lemas, Doximity

One thing we know at Doximity is that digital devices and apps have given doctors a whole new black bag of tools.  Everyone carries a smartphone these days, but we wondered exactly how doctors are using this technology on the job, and whether any generational differences exist.  To shed some light on this topic, we dug into how physicians across the age spectrum use Doximity products and other apps, and discovered some interesting findings.

You Are What You Read

One thing millennial and non-millennial physicians can agree on is that there is a lot of medical research and news to keep up with. That’s why DocNews is one of the top three Doximity features used by physicians over age 35. DocNews lets doctors see what their colleagues are recommending and commenting on and uses machine learning to suggest new articles to read based on the doctor’s own CV and interests. For one doctor out of Buffalo, NY, DocNews saves precious time. “Doximity's DocNews has kept me up to date in both of my specialties… without having to inefficiently skim through multiple journals each month”.

As you may guess, different DocNews articles appeal to different generations. While doctors of all ages are catching up on the latest clinical research, here are some of the more mainstream headlines that engaged different age groups in the last year:

Popular with Doctors Under 40

  • For the Young Doctor About to Burn Out
  • "Zombie Apocalypse" Drug Reaches US
  • Are Surgeons More Aggressive than Internal Medicine Physicians?
  • Study of Highly-Motivated GenX Physicians Shows Disparity Between Men and Women in Parenting
  • What Hospitals Could Learn from Starbucks

Popular with Doctors Over 55

  • How Many Die From Medical Mistakes in U.S. Hospitals?
  • Blood Pressure Ruckus Reveals Big Secret In Medicine
  • Biceps Curls And Down Dogs May Help Lower Diabetes Risk
  • Cardiologists Chronically Fail to Recognize One Problem in Older Heart Patients
  • Screening for Alzheimer’s Gene Tests the Desire to Know

And not surprisingly, doctors tend to grab a few moments to read the news at different times of day. While the most common time to read DocNews is early in the morning, the millennials own the midnight to 4AM graveyard shift. By contrast, many of the over-35s prefer to read their news in the more sane evening timeslots -- 8PM to midnight -- before hitting the hay.

Are you talking to me?

We also took a look at how our half a million physicians are using Doximity to interact with one another. More seasoned physicians are really loving the ability to connect with colleagues and classmates on Doximity. “One fun way Doximity made my life easier was when my classmates and I gathered for our 30 year reunion in Shreveport, Louisiana,” said Dr. Lori Barr, Partner at Austin Radiological Association. “It was the fastest way to get in touch with each other and make plans to get together.”

The younger set is taking advantage of digital fax and messaging at a faster pace than their more senior peers. According to Dr. Amit Ayer, a Neurosurgery Resident in Chicago, “The personal fax is a junior resident's best friend.”

Loving the fruit (or not?)

When we analyze what mobile devices physicians are using, we see that 90% of Doximity mobile users are on Apple products. Interestingly, doctors under age 40 are actually substantially more likely to use Android devices than their older counterparts. And while our data shows millennials use mobile devices more than 35-45 year olds and the 55+ cohort, the 45-55 age group was actually the most likely to use Doximity’s mobile features vs. the desktop version.

An App(le) a Day Keeps the Doc in Play

You almost never see a millennial without their phone in hand. Not surprisingly, nearly all younger physicians are using their smartphones on the job as well. According to the Sources & Interactions Study by Kantar Media, 92% of physicians under 35 use at least one app for professional purposes. In this group, 88% use a smartphone app for diagnostic tools/clinical reference and 76% use apps for drug and coding references. Their older colleagues are also adopting these devices, although somewhat less. For physicians ages 45-59, 55% use the first and 46% use the latter.

Ready or not

No matter how you are using smartphones and tablets on the job, technology has changed how the medical world works. Different age groups emphasize various platforms to varying degrees. But no matter what, technology that can help physicians be better at their jobs will continue to have a position in the workplace. See how Doximity can help you work more efficiently and download the app (Apple and Android).