It won’t be long before most medical professionals carry stethoscopes AND smartphones on the job.

According to a report by Manhattan Research, 64% of U.S. physicians currently own smartphones, and that number is expected to increase to 81% in 2012.

Trend watchers predict that healthcare workers will use online resources more frequently and that offline resources such as books and printed journals will become a complimentary, rather than primary resource. A larger number of nurses and physicians will perform a broader and more complex range of functions on their mobile devices, including administrative tasks and patient monitoring.

It’s all about the apps!

The Medical Software Advice blog released a study of smartphone use among medical professionals, showing Apple’s iPhone with a leading market share, and BlackBerry, Palm Pre and Google phones also making a respectable showing. The survey’s respondents overwhelmingly said they selected their phone based on the available apps and the ease of use.

Mobile phones with medical apps can offer a real advantage if you’re a travel nurse who would love to carry a full library of medical resources in your pocket. No more lugging around those “go-to” research tools (even something as basic as a calculator) or counting on every destination hospital to have a particular clinical resource that you’ve come to rely on.