Doctors slow to go high-tech

February 1, 2001

Pharmaceutical Representative

A survey of nearly 10,000 doctors of internal medicine found that physicians have not yet fully embraced computers for the practice of medicine.

A survey of nearly 10,000 doctors of internal medicine found that physicians have not yet fully embraced computers for the practice of medicine. The survey found that, while 82% of the respondents reported that they used computers for personal or professional medical reasons, only 6% of internists consulted a computer-based information source with a patient in an office setting. In hospital settings, physicians used a computer to access patient medical histories 25% of the time.

The results are contained in "Computer Use and Needs of Internists," a paper based on a technological survey of 9,466 physicians undertaken as part of a general survey of members of the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine. The survey also revealed that, despite using the computer for e-mail in the office (58% daily), only 7% of physicians exchanged e-mail with patients on a daily or weekly basis. Patient records, too, were not likely to be computerized, with only 19% of internists reporting that their offices were partially or completely computerized for patient records.

Respondents rated their own computer skills as average, and indicated that they wanted to increase their general computer skills and enhance their knowledge of computer-based information sources for patient care, electronic medical record systems, computer-based continuing medical education and telemedicine. PR

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