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Q: Doctor Behavior Online ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Doctor Behavior Online
Category: Business and Money > Advertising and Marketing
Asked by: dipsearoader-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 15 Sep 2006 16:38 PDT
Expires: 15 Oct 2006 16:38 PDT
Question ID: 765694
I need some statistics that tell me how much time doctors (MD's) spend
online during a day or a week. Ideally, I get some information that
tells me the time they spend with magazines vs. online. It would also
be good to know the sites where doctors go the most.
Subject: Re: Doctor Behavior Online
Answered By: bobbie7-ga on 15 Sep 2006 18:49 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Dipsearoader,

The results of my search are as follows:

?21% of physicians use email to communicate with their patients.?

?7.6 million consumers are actively emailing with their physicians.?

?The number of U.S. physicians participating in electronic detailing
(e-detailing) has nearly doubled in the past three years?from 141,000
physicians in 2002 to 246,000 in 2005.?

?Many younger physicians are attracted to hospitals that provide them
with the technology to practice without paper.?

?According to Forrester, half of U.S. physicians owned a PDA in 2004,
compared with 14% of the population overall...[and] doctors are
increasingly using the devices for more-complex tasks. Sixty-five
percent of physicians who use PDAs say they use them to check
medications, according to the AMA and Forrester.?

According to a survey conducted by closerlook: 

?98% of doctors are online
87% go online monthly
80% said they had changed their prescribing behavior as a result of
pharma information obtained online.?

?Doctors spend at least 50 minutes per night online researching
disease information, drug information, and, to a lesser degree, CME

Healthcare Information Technology Fact Sheet


Family physicians use the internet regularly as an information source
and specialists more often searched journals

 ?Family physicians found the Internet to be useful and important as
an information source. They were more likely to search for patient
oriented material than were specialists who more often searched
literature, journals and corresponded with colleagues. Hand held
computers were used by almost half of family physicians. CONCLUSION:
Family physicians consider the Internet important to the practice of
medicine, and the majority use it regularly. Their searches differ
from colleagues in other specialties with a focus on direct patient
care questions. Almost half of family physicians use hand held
computers, most often for drug reference."

BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2005 Mar 22;5(1):9.     
Family physicians' information seeking behaviors: a survey comparison
with other specialties.
Department of Continuing Education, Harvard Medical School, Boston,
Massachusetts, USA.
PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE

Download complete study here:


Electronic media are viewed as increasingly important sources for
clinical information, with decreased use of journals.

?Almost all physicians have access to the Internet, and most believe
it is important for patient care. The most frequent use is in
accessing the latest research on specific topics, new information in a
disease area, and information related to a specific patient problem.
Critical to seeking clinical information is the credibility of the
source, followed by relevance, unlimited access, speed, and ease of

?Electronic media are viewed as increasingly important sources for
clinical information, with decreased use of journals and local
continuing medical education (CME). Barriers to finding needed
information include too much information, lack of specific
information, and navigation or searching difficulties.?

J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2004 Winter;24(1):31-8
Physicians' Internet information-seeking behaviors.
Department of Continuing Education, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE


?Specific patient problems and latest research in a specific topic
most often prompt physicians to search on the Internet. Younger
physicians and female physicians were most likely to seek information
on a specific patient problem. Only 9% of all respondents (n = 2,500)
searched for information during a patient encounter. When unsure about
diagnostic and management issues for a complex case, 41.3% chose to
consult with a colleague or read from a text (22.8%). Searching most
often occurred at home after work (38.2%) or during breaks in the day
(35.7%). Most (68.7%) found the information they were looking for more
than 51% of the time. Searching was facilitated by knowing preferred
sites and access in the clinical setting. The greatest barriers to
answering clinical questions included a lack of specific information
and too much information to scan.?

J Contin Educ Health Prof. 2006 Spring;26(2):120-7.  
Information-seeking behaviors and reflective practice.
Outcomes, Inc., Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE


The most common use of the Internet is querying medical literature/research (91%). 

Use of the Internet
Medical literature/research		91%
Email with facilities/colleagues	63%
Online CME				61%
View MSMS home page			47%
Website for patients			29%
Tracking third party payer claims	26%
Email with patients			18%
Real time medical consultations	3%

?Only two percent of physicians do not have Internet? 

?Three-quarters of physicians have a broadband connection to the Internet.?

?Almost two-thirds of physicians use email to interact with other
facilities or colleagues, but only 18% use email to communicate with

Most common uses of a computer

Practice billing and receivables (78%)
Claims submission (71%)
Email and Internet access (71%)
Scheduling (70%)

MSMS Physician Data
Survey on Practice Characteristics 2005 Results


Doctors are broadening the range of websites they visit and are homing
in on specialized sites.

?About 70% of physicians visit three or fewer websites regularly in
search of medical information. Although physicians favor health
portals?especially WebMD and Medscape (both of which are offered by
WebMD Corporation)?traffic has begun to migrate to sites sponsored by
professional associations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Collectively, professional association sites command a 43% total share
of physicians online?up from 32% in 2001. With more physicians
visiting niche sites, achieving laser-like targeting online promises
to become easier. ?

The Role?and Impact?of E-Health Is Expanding


??WebMD says its has over "130,000 physician subscribers," while
Medscape says it has "over 10,000 doctors that have signed up for its
Internet or handheld applications."



"An estimated 92 percent of physicians visit medical Web sites, and
it's easy to see why. Most cost nothing to access, and their offerings
are highly practical?Medline literature searches, online textbooks,
full-text journal articles, drug information, CME, clinical
guidelines, decision-support tools, breaking news, and discussion
groups. Thirty-five percent of physicians who regularly surf these Web
sites say that going online has made a major impact on their knowledge
of new therapies, according to a survey last year by Boston Consulting
Group in conjunction with pollster Harris Interactive.?


?Qquite a few physicians are attracted to subscription-only medical
Web sites. The top one in this category is MD Consult ( ), which costs $219.95 a year for an individual
doctor who wants just the basic service.

MD Consult is a one-stop shop like Medscape, but does a better job of
organizing clinical data on a given subject. Type the term
"hypertension" in its search engine, and MD Consult neatly categorizes
the results under reference books, journals, drug information, news,
current practice, practice guidelines, and patient handouts. And the
latest review of this topic under "Current Practice" is conveniently
bundled with resources in the other categories.?

The top 10 sites used by primary care physicians


Physicians? Online  

National Institutes of Health
(and National Library of Medicine3) 
( and ) 

MD Consult 


American Medical Association 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 


The New England Journal of Medicine 

Jan 23, 2004 
Medical Economics


Top Medical Websites
See page 9


Computer and Internet Use Among U.S. Physicians


Physician Targeted Websites: Understanding the Online Needs of Physicians 

?Physicians in Europe and the US are using general health information
websites and physician websites as their primary sources of health
information online. Physicians in the US are more likely to spend a
longer period of time on one specific website than European
physicians. Physicians from both regions are primarily searching for
health news and broad-ranging product and disease information.?

?Physician targeted websites need to allow physicians to easily
navigate through the site and find the information they need as
quickly and easily as possible. The site should also foster
recognition of the brand of the company, and retention tools should be
used to maximize the number of physicians revisiting the site.?

?More than three-quarters of surveyed physicians in Europe and the US
desire more disease information to be provided on physician targeted
websites. Physicians from both regions are also interested in seeing
more product-specific information and treatment pattern information
provided through this online channel.?

Datamonitor, March 2004


According to Harris Interactive, websites for physicians rate only
average or below average in ease of use and overall comprehensiveness.

?In the study, sponsored by Merck & Co. to help gauge its own medical
content website,, only 12 percent of physicians rated
current Internet sites as "excellent" in providing accurate and
credible medical information. The two most important attributes for
physicians were accurate, credible information and easy access to
specific medical information.?

?Respondents also rated sites on comprehensiveness, currency of
information, objectivity and absence of bias (advertising). Only 37
percent gave the typical website a positive rating for ease of
navigation, and 52 percent said poor navigation keeps them from using
the Internet more often in their practices.?

Health Management Technology. Nov 2001. 15 Sep.

Search terms:
Physicians' Use of the web OR internet percent hours
online behavior of doctors OR physicians "

I hope the information provided is helpful!

Best regards,
dipsearoader-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
This is great. Thank you very much.

Subject: Re: Doctor Behavior Online
From: bobbie7-ga on 17 Sep 2006 19:32 PDT
Thank you for the tip!

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