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ACP-ASIM Pressroom

Study Finds Doctors Slow To Embrace Computerization

Survey of nearly 10,000 internists examines computer usage and habits

November 4, 2000

Philadelphia—(Nov. 4, 2000) A survey of nearly 10,000 doctors of internal medicine (internists) found that physicians have not yet fully embraced computers for the practice of medicine. The survey found that while 82 percent of the respondents reported that they use computers for personal or professional medical reasons, only six percent of internists consulted a computer-based information source when with a patient in an office setting. In hospital settings, physicians used a computer to access patient medical histories 25 percent of the time.

The results are contained in "Computer Use and Needs of Internists," a paper based on a technological survey undertaken as part of a general survey of members of the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine (ACP-ASIM), the nation's largest medical specialty society. The survey was based on the responses of 9,466 physicians to 198 questions.

The survey also revealed that despite using the computer for e-mail in the office (58 percent daily), only seven percent of physicians surveyed exchanged e-mail with patients on a daily or weekly basis. Patient records, too, are not likely to be computerized, with 19 percent of internists reporting that their office was partially or completely computerized for patient records.

Respondents rated their own computer skills as average, and reported that they want to increase their general computer skills and enhance their knowledge of computer-based information sources for patient care, electronic medical record systems, computer-based CME, and telemedicine.

The paper was authored by current and former ACP-ASIM staff members David A. Lacher, MD; Elizabeth A. Nelson, PhD, RN; Wayne Bylsma, PhD; and Robert P. Spena, DSW. It will be presented at the annual symposium of the American Medical Informatics Association, to be held in Los Angeles from November 4-8, 2000.

ACP-ASIM is the second-largest physician group in the United States, with a membership of more than 115,000 internal medicine physicians and medical students. Doctors of internal medicine ("internists") are specialists in adult care and provide the majority of health care to adults in the United States. The organization is dedicated to the advancement of internal medicine so that its members can provide the best quality care for their patients. More information on the American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine can be found at www.acponline.org.

The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) is dedicated to the development and application of medical informatics in the support of patient care, teaching, research, and health care administration. AMIA has over 3,000 members from 42 countries, representing all basic, applied and clinical interests in health care information technology. For more information about AMIA, please visit its web site at www.amia.org.

Contact: Brian Wasson, ACP-ASIM, 215-351-2513 or 800-523-1546, ext. 2513

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