Small medical practices to spend $7K on tablets this year

By Brian Dolan
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iPad medicalAbout 76 percent of small- and medium-sized medical and dentals offices plan to purchase tablets in the next year, according to research firm NPD Group's recently published Third Quarter SMB Technology Report. What's more, these practices expect to spend about $6,800 on tablets, NPD told DOTmed news. NPD conducted the survey in September 2011.

NPD's report has a much broader focus. The key finding was that 73 percent of small- to medium- businesses (SMBs), which have fewer than 1,000 employees, in the US plan to purchase tablets in the next year. However, the average SMB expects to spend about three times as much as medical and dental practices plan to spend on tablets in the coming year. The average SMB expects to spend $21,000 on tablets.

Just this week, we reported on the West Wireless Health Institute's contention that less than 1 percent of hospitals in the US have a fully functioning tablet deployments. A June 2011 survey conducted my physician social network QuantiaMD found that more than 30 percent of US physicians used tablets and about 25 percent used both smartphones and tablets. At the end of 2010, before the iPad 2 had launched commercially, Chilmark Research estimated that about one in five US physicians had purchased iPads -- not tablets -- just iPads.

Of course, some of the larger providers are set to spend much more than $6,800 on tablets in the coming year. Last October the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced plans to buy as many as 100,000 tablets primarily for use by its medical staff. Ottawa Hospital has already deployed 3,000 iPads and may buy "a few thousand more".

Of course, many of these devices are also being brought into healthcare facilities by the clinical staff themselves. NPD's survey only takes into account those devices likely to find their way into clinical settings because they were bought specifically for that purpose. The BYOD trend portends a wider adoption for tablets among small- and medium-sized practices than NPD's numbers let on.

More on the NPD report over at DOTmed
More stats on SMB plans for tablet purchasing from NPD's release here.