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Study: doctors prefer online to print

Google and Manhattan Research find websites and apps beat paper journals

Google Manhattan Research US doctor suvey

When making clinical decisions doctors spend twice as much time using online resources like professional websites and mobile apps compared to print, according to a new survey.

An online study of more than 500 practicing US physicians by Google and Manhattan Research found print resources such as journals and reference materials were seen as too cumbersome.

“Online sources outweigh the print, it's so much easier,” said one respondent, an obstetrics/gynaecology physician. “You don't need to have books and journals in front of you, you can find information on your iPhone or laptop or wherever you are. I can be in with a patient and I can easily give the patient information or be able to explain things a little more easily.”

The study, Screen to Script - The Doctor's Digital Path to Treatment, focused on trying to understand US doctors' digital adoption across devices and media channels and how this impacts patient treatment decisions.

Unsurprisingly, given Google's core online search business, the survey was particularly interested in the role played by doctors' use of search engines.

It found that search engines are used on a daily basis by 84 per cent of respondents who made, on average, six professional searches per day.

Concluding that more doctors start with a search engine than any other online resource or website, the survey also revealed:

• Physicians perform an average of 6 professional searches a day

• 68 per cent of physicians are prompted to use a search engine because a patient seeks more information during a consultation

• 84 per cent of physicians search on condition related keyword terms. Only 17 per cent search on pharmaceutical manufacturer terms

• One in three physicians click on sponsored listings

View: Screen to Script - The Doctor's Digital Path to Treatment

A total of 506 practicing US physicians were surveyed online between February and March 2012 and Manhattan Research said it was confident the sample reflected the overall population of US practicing physicians.

17th July 2012

From: Marketing

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