Survey Finds More Doctors are Using the Internet, but Not for Their Practices
More doctors are using computers and the Internet on a personal basis, but not necessarily on a professional one, according to data from an American Medical Association survey. American Medical News reports that 75% of the approximately 1,000 physicians surveyed "personally use computers," up from 41% in 1999. However, only 54% of the surveyed physicians reported using the Internet at work. Some physicians and observers said the findings suggest that more doctors will "eventually adopt Internet-based or other technologies in their practices," but added that many physicians remain unaware of how the technologies can benefit them professionally. Another survey released last December by Deloitte Consulting and Cyber Dialogue supports these findings. While 90% of the 1,200 physicians surveyed had accessed the Internet in the previous 12 months, only 55% used it daily, and only 24% used it for professional reasons, including accessing online journals and consulting with colleagues, according to Dr. Manuel Lowenhaupt of Deloitte's Health Care Practice division. Mark Bard, a director at Cyber Dialogue Health Practice, added that the professional user numbers might be low because 80% of physicians did not view the Internet as "essential" to their practices as it did not increase revenue, decrease costs or improve care. However, 71% of physicians surveyed said that they expected to "rely" on the Internet more in five years, and 59% thought it would "radically improve" their communication with patients and health plans (Chin, American Medical News, 2/7).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.