Assessment of Internet use and effects among healthcare professionals: a cross sectional survey

Here is a study from the April issue of Postgraduate Medical Journal. And this is what I am looking at as I write this. (So why is she writing this, I hear you ask. Good question.)

Podichetty VK, Booher J, Whitfield M, Biscup RS. Assessment of Internet use and effects among healthcare professionals: a cross sectional survey. Postgrad Med J 2006 Apr;82(966):274-9.

PURPOSE: Several studies have explored the scientific platforms on patient use
of the internet for health information. In contrast physicians' perspective on
evolving internet environment is lacking. The purpose of this study is to assess
and correlate the extent of internet use among healthcare professionals and
examine its effects on clinical practice.
METHODS: Cross sectional survey conducted in the USA using questionnaires distributed randomly to healthcare professionals attending distinct continuing medical education programmes between 2003 and 2004. Multiple choice and yes/no questions related to the trends of internet use and its effects on clinical practice were extracted and responses
analysed. The main outcome measures are self reported rates of internet use,
perceived effects, and the role of medical web sites in clinical practice.
RESULTS: The overall response rate was 60%. A total of 277 survey respondents
(97%) had internet access. Some 7% in private practice and 1% of group practice
physicians did not have internet access. Most (71%) used the internet regularly
for medical or professional updating and 62% (n = 178) felt the need for sharing
web sites designed for healthcare professionals with patients. Some 27% of the
physicians currently own established personal practice web sites. Sixty three
per cent have recommended a web site to a patient for more information, matching
the positive trust (>70%) on the general quality of selected medical web sites.
CONCLUSION: This cross sectional survey shows that internet use and web based
medical information is widely popular among physicians and patients. About
23%-31% of the healthcare professionals report >80% interaction with web
informed patients in their daily practice.
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