A survey of smartphone and tablet computer use by colorectal surgeons in the UK and Continental Europe

Colorectal Dis. 2012 Sep;14(9):e535-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-1318.2012.03161.x.


Aim: The prevalence of smartphone or tablet computer ownership among colorectal surgeons in the UK and Continental Europe, and their use for academic activity, is unknown. The aims of this study were to ascertain the level of ownership of such devices, to determine their use in accessing medical literature and to obtain opinions on online publishing.

Method: A Web-based electronic 11-point questionnaire was emailed in March and April 2012 to all members of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland (ACPGBI), the Dukes' Club and the European Society of Coloproctology (ESCP). Members at all levels of training were included. Questions covered demographic details, technology ownership, current technology usage, options for future developments and attitudes to online publishing.

Results: The survey was sent to 1048 surgeons, and 182 (17.4%) responses were received. Smartphone and tablet ownership was 83.5% (152/182) and 36.8% (67/182), respectively. Respondents in the 21-50 years age group were more likely to own a smartphone and use it to access full-text versions of scientific papers or to access journals using an application (app). As an author, just over half (56.7%) of respondents were happy for their article to be published online only rather than in print. Nevertheless, journals published online only were perceived to be of lower status by 55.6% of respondents.

Conclusion: Younger age groups are more likely to use smartphones and tablet computers to access medical publishing. The publishing of papers online only by journals with a print version is acceptable, but online only journals are perceived to have a lower status than print journals.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Computers*
  • Cell Phone / statistics & numerical data*
  • Colorectal Surgery*
  • Computers, Handheld / statistics & numerical data*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Middle Aged
  • Online Systems*
  • Periodicals as Topic
  • Physicians / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires