Internet usage may seem ubiquitous in the workplace these days, but more than half the respondents to the survey report that some physicians in their practice still do not go online.
Of those physicians who shy away from the Internet, one-third find navigating the information superhighway too complicated. Another 44% prefer to leave the computer work to office staffs.
Michael Nochomovitz, M.D., president and CMO of University Primary Care Practices in Cleveland, says the 200 physicians in the Case Western Reserve University-affiliated practices average about one Internet session per day--after hours. "Most of the doctors during the day don't have time to research things on the Internet," he says.
At the Urology Center of Southwest Louisiana in Lafayette, La., some of the four practicing physicians find the office Internet connection too slow, according to partner Tom Alderson, M.D.
Patients who log onto the practice's Web site can send e-mail--to the business manager.
"The docs don't want to advertise their personal e-mails," Alderson says. When the Louisiana urologists do go online, it often is to transfer research-related data through a Web portal. "We're involved in a few clinical trials. It saves you mail and it's easier to do that way," he says.
In an academic setting like the University of Illinois at Chicago's medical center, most of the 400 faculty members and 600 medical residents have ready, high-speed access to the Internet; the average physician there goes online several times a day, says neurology chief Daniel Hier, M.D.
The few physicians that do not use the Internet generally let their staffers handle all the computer work, Hier says.
Cynthia Sherry, M.D., chair of the physician leadership council at Texas Health Services, a 13-hospital system in north Texas, says the 14 physicians in her own radiology practice are online several times a day. They use the Internet for claims submission, results reporting and links to hospitals.