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What are the most popular online activities for GPs?

Educational resources and viewing guidelines are highly rated by GPs

Research conducted for Doctors.net.uk – the UK's largest and most active online network of doctors – suggests that educational resources and viewing guidelines are highly rated by GPs. The research, which was carried out among just over 1,000 GPs across the UK, found that more than 50 per cent of them rated one of these as their 'most valuable online, professional activity'.

Medical news, treatment options and information about new treatments also proved valuable; while activities such as communications with both colleagues and patients were lower priorities.

These statistics suggest that a large proportion of the 10 hours per week that GPs are spending online for professional purposes are devoted to information-gathering activities – creating valuable opportunities for pharma to engage with them and fill knowledge gaps.  

While doctors do take part in some social networking, this is a much lower priority and even in the secure environment of Doctors.net.uk, where 41% of members are active at least once a day, only around a third log on for forum discussions. The rest are more focused on information gathering.

When asked about where they are seeking information online, doctor networks, professional and government body websites were browsed on a fairly regular basis. However a third of those surveyed stated that they never visited pharma company websites and also most half of them said the same for medical devices websites, with charities faring little better.

While this situation can be attributed to a variety of issues, it seems that trust is a major factor for doctors, not helped by transparency campaigns such as AllTrials. To convince doctors of the value of its products and services, pharma must respond positively to their demands for more data on drugs and greater transparency on patient outcomes.

Pharma must also seek to engage with doctors on their terms and in the online environments that the use and trust. Independent online professional networks, which are one of the most trusted sources of information for doctors, can play a pivotal role by enabling pharma to share knowledge in a targeted and transparent way that is built on a clear understanding of doctors' clinical needs.

For more information on M3, the global provider of technology services in healthcare, and its new European Division which includes  www.doctors.net.uk, www.mdlinx.com, and www.networksinhealth.com, please call Tim Ringrose on +44 (0)1235 828400, or email Tim.ringrose@eu.m3.com

4th July 2014

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