AMA Survey Finds Few Physicians Use Internet in Their Practices
While more physicians are using the Internet for research and personal communications, those who are using online services to manage their practices remain "in the minority," according to a new AMA survey, the Wall Street Journal reports (Carrns, Wall Street Journal, 5/10). The "2001 AMA Study on Physicians' Use of the World Wide Web" surveyed 1,001 physicians between June 15, 2000, and Sept. 9, 2000. The survey excluded those physicians employed by the federal government, over age 70 or in residency training programs. According to the survey results, 70% of physicians reported using the Internet, up from 20% in 1997 (AMA release, 5/9). However, only 17% of physicians said they obtained or transferred medical records online, and only 8% reported using the Internet for claims processing. The Journal reports that the findings indicate that companies such as WebMD and Medicalogic/Medscape Inc., which are working to help physicians transition to electronic medical records, have "significant work ahead" to reach that goal. The survey also found that 70% of physicians who did not have their own Web sites said they did not intend to develop one. Only 25% of physicians surveyed said that they used email to communicate with their patients. AMA trustee Donald Palmisano said that more physicians would incorporate the Internet into their practices as more secure online systems are developed, or establish their own Web sites after they discover the benefits of the Internet. According to the survey, 86% of physicians indicated that the Internet was useful for obtaining medical information (Wall Street Journal, 5/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.