A separate study from Manhattan Research found that 64% of U.S. physicians currently own smartphones, but this number is expected to rise to 81% by 2012. Meanwhile, 39% of physicians have direct electronic communication with their patients, Manhattan found.
As might be expected, healthcare professionals also go to the Internet to research clinical and academic topics. Overall, 87% of nurses surveyed used the Internet for professional reasons, according to Nicholson Kovac, with 83% visiting Web sites for healthcare-related information and 41% visiting the Web sites of healthcare equipment manufacturers for more information about products.
On the social media front, 88% of physicians and 77% of nurses have visited Facebook. Roughly a quarter of nurses have used LinkedIn, and 65% plan to use social media for professional development at some point.
However, physicians and nurses under-index in their use of certain social media, according to the same study, which found that just 16% of physicians and 11% of nurses use Twitter -- compared with roughly 20% of the U.S. adult population at large.
According to figures from the Department of Labor, general practice physicians earn an average $119,000 per year in the U.S., while registered nurses earn an average $60,000 -- although in both cases there is wide variation by specialty and region.
In 2003, there were 690,000 physicians, 130,000 surgeons and 2.4 million registered nurses working in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The total number of nurses is projected to increase to over 3 million by 2012.