Physician Web use doubles in two years

February 1, 2000

Pharmaceutical Representative

According to a study of physician computer usage conducted by the American Medical Association, Chicago, the proportion of physicians using the World Wide Web has nearly doubled, from 20% in 1997 to 37% in 1999.

According to a study of physician computer usage conducted by the American Medical Association, Chicago, the proportion of physicians using the World Wide Web has nearly doubled, from 20% in 1997 to 37% in 1999.

"The Internet has proven to many physicians that it can be a powerful tool for medical use," said AMA trustee Richard Corlin. "The findings of our study show that the process of integrating the fast-changing world of the Internet into the practice of medicine has significantly quickened."

The AMA conducted a large-scale survey of U.S. physicians in 1997 to determine the penetration of Web usage among the physician population. The 1999 survey was conducted to determine changes in the pattern of physician Web use.

Since it conducted the study, the AMA found that the proportion of physicians who use a computer has remained virtually unchanged over the past two years at 41%.

Findings of the new report, however, suggest that physician Web use will continue to increase in the short term. The study showed that among physicians who use a computer but do not have access to the World Wide Web, 58% said they plan on acquiring Web access within the next six months.

Physicians were also using the Web to promote their practices, according to the study. Since 1997, dedicated Web sites among physicians who use the Internet have increased to more than 62%.

"More and more physicians are recognizing that the Web has the ability to access and distribute a wealth of valuable information that might not be readily available through traditional sources," said Corlin. "This capacity can be of great benefit to physicians and patients." PR

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