Most Physicians Believe Internet is Integral in Future of Medicine, Survey Says
An "overwhelming majority" of physicians believe the Internet will simplify the practice of medicine and improve patient care quality, but many also feel that uniform standards for online health information need to be adopted, Reuters Health reports. According to a Harris Interactive poll of 215 physician leaders and office-based practicing physicians released Tuesday, 96% of respondents feel that the Internet will improve patient care and make practicing medicine "easier." In addition, 85% of respondents said they already use the Internet for at least one health-related purpose, such as obtaining medical information and news or accessing guidelines and protocols. More than one-third of physicians polled felt online technologies are "essential for future practice." Dr. Molly Joel Coye, CEO of the Health Technology Center, which sponsored the survey, said, "Physicians ... do not appear to need further convincing that technology will play an increasingly significant role." However, most physicians also would like to see industry associations or health plans "take the lead" in setting industry-wide standards. Most physicians said that the "full potential" of the Internet "will not be realized until the lack of system compatibility across health care organizations is addressed" (Reuters Health, 3/20).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.