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Web-informed patients: 22% of doctors are more likely to prescribe the requested medicine than in the case of uninformed patients
26 June 2012
Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt | Graz | Wien
The rapid development of the internet has changed the relationship between doctors and patients: Many individuals use the web to find information about doctors, diseases, treatment methods, preventative care and medicines. A recent study carried out in Germany asked 287 doctors about their attitudes.
A large proportion of the doctors (57,7 %) maintains a positive attitude towards the information available from the internet. However, 82,5 % of the doctors assert that patients are frequently misinformed and 70,3 % think that the use of the internet leads to an increase in the amount of time required. 80,2 % believe that dealing with internet-informed patients increases the need for the doctors themselves to be very well informed. Only 17,5 % stated that they feel they may be relinquishing power and control, and yet 22 % of doctors will admit to a greater likelihood of prescribing the requested medicine, than is the case with uninformed patients.
Recommendation platforms for doctors, which apply the same principle as the well-established websites for hotel recommendations, are still met with a certain degree of scepticism by most doctors: Only 14 % regard these platforms as useful, while 44 % recognise future potential and around 50 % declared a clear interest in online feedback.
“The role of the internet will increasingly gain significance. Our results show that around one third of doctors aged between 30 and 42, and between 56 and 64 respectively, can see themselves relying more heavily on the internet in the future for their patient communications”, Ralf Terlutter explains. Martina Moick adds: “The role of pharmaceutical companies is of particular interest in this regard: Doctors would like these companies to support measures to improve the online communication with patients.”
Martina Moick will present the full results of the study later this year at the EMAC conference series in Lisbon and at Medicine 2.0, which takes place at the Hardvard Medical School in Boston.