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Thursday, March 1, 2001

Internet use increasing for medical information

A survey of 508 patients found evidence that patients are increasingly reliant on the Internet for medical information and management. "They are empowered by the Internet and are demanding better quality and access to healthcare," coauthors of scientific paper 70 said Wednesday. "Adoption of the Internet may become a requisite in orthopaedic practice."

A twenty-seven question survey was drafted and distributed to 550 consecutive patients of a multispecialty orthopaedic practice and 508 (92.3 percent) of the surveys were completed and returned. The mean age was 52.3 years (range: 12 to 93 years) with 49.8 percent men and 50.2 percent women.

The patients were stratified into six age groups. Overall, 56.5 percent of the patients use the Internet, with a significant difference (p = 0.001) between age groups, ranging from 77.2 percent (< 30 years old) to 15.5 percent (> 70 years old).

Among the users, 46.9 percent use the Internet for health and medical information. In particular, 16.2 percent use the Internet to learn about their surgical procedure and 10.6 percent to learn about their surgeon. Sixty-eight percent expressed an interest to e-mail their physician and 80.7 percent to use their physician's web site.

Coauthors of the study are Charles K. Lim, MD; Selene G. Parekh, MD, MBA; David G. Nazarian, MD; and Robert E. Booth, MD all of Philadelphia, Pa.

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Last modified 14/February/2001 by IS