J. Med. Internet Res. - Online communication between doctors and patients in Europe: status and perspectives.

Tópicos

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Resumo

CKGROUND: Use of the Internet for health purposes is steadily increasing in Europe, while the eHealth market is still a niche. Online communication between doctor and patient is one aspect of eHealth with potentially great impact on the use of health systems, patient-doctor roles and relations and individuals' health. Monitoring and understanding practices, trends, and expectations in this area is important, as it may bring invaluable knowledge to all stakeholders, in the Health 2.0 era.OBJECTIVE: Our two main goals were: (1) to investigate use of the Internet and changes in expectations about future use for particular aspects of communication with a known doctor (obtaining a prescription, scheduling an appointment, or asking a particular health question), and (2) to investigate how important the provision of email and Web services to communicate with the physician is when choosing a new doctor for a first time face-to-face appointment. The data come from the second survey of the eHealth Trends study, which addressed trends and perspectives of health-related Internet use in Europe. This study builds on previous work that established levels of generic use of the Internet for self-help activities, ordering medicine or other health products, interacting with a Web doctor/unknown health professional, and communicating with a family doctor or other known health professional.METHODS: A representative sample of citizens from seven European countries was surveyed (n = 7022) in April and May of 2007 through computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI). Respondents were questioned about their use of the Internet to obtain a prescription, schedule an appointment, or ask a health professional about a particular health question. They were also asked what their expectations were regarding future use of the Internet for health-related matters. In a more pragmatic approach to the subject, they were asked about the perceived importance when choosing a new doctor of the possibility of using email and the Web to communicate with that physician. Logistic regression analysis was used to draw the profiles of users of related eHealth services in Europe among the population in general and in the subgroup of those who use the Internet for health-related matters. Changes from 2005 to 2007 were computed using data from the first eHealth Trends survey (October and November 2005, n = 7934).RESULTS: In 2007, an estimated 1.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.5 - 2.1) of the population in these countries had used the Internet to request or renew a prescription; 3.2% (95% CI 2.8 - 3.6) had used the Internet to schedule an appointment; and 2.5% (95% CI 2.2 - 2.9) had used the Internet to ask a particular health question. This represents estimated increases of 0.9% (95% CI 0.5 - 1.3), 1.7% (95% CI 1.2 - 2.2), and 1.4% (95% CI 0.9 - 1.8). An estimated 18.0% (95% CI 17.1 - 18.9) of the populations of these countries expected that in the near future they would have consultations with health professionals online, and 25.4% (95% CI 24.4 - 26.3) expected that in the near future they would be able to schedule an appointment online. Among those using the Internet for health-related purposes, on average more than 4 in 10 people considered the provision of these eHealth services to be important when choosing a new doctor.CONCLUSIONS: Use of the Internet to communicate with a known health professional is still rare in Europe. Legal context, health policy issues, and technical conditions prevailing in different countries might be playing a major role in the situation. Interest in associated eHealth services is high among citizens and likely to increase.

Resumo Limpo

ckground use internet health purpos steadili increas europ ehealth market still nich onlin communic doctor patient one aspect ehealth potenti great impact use health system patientdoctor role relat individu health monitor understand practic trend expect area import may bring invalu knowledg stakehold health eraobject two main goal investig use internet chang expect futur use particular aspect communic known doctor obtain prescript schedul appoint ask particular health question investig import provis email web servic communic physician choos new doctor first time facetofac appoint data come second survey ehealth trend studi address trend perspect healthrel internet use europ studi build previous work establish level generic use internet selfhelp activ order medicin health product interact web doctorunknown health profession communic famili doctor known health professionalmethod repres sampl citizen seven european countri survey n april may computerassist telephon interview cati respond question use internet obtain prescript schedul appoint ask health profession particular health question also ask expect regard futur use internet healthrel matter pragmat approach subject ask perceiv import choos new doctor possibl use email web communic physician logist regress analysi use draw profil user relat ehealth servic europ among popul general subgroup use internet healthrel matter chang comput use data first ehealth trend survey octob novemb n result estim confid interv ci popul countri use internet request renew prescript ci use internet schedul appoint ci use internet ask particular health question repres estim increas ci ci ci estim ci popul countri expect near futur consult health profession onlin ci expect near futur abl schedul appoint onlin among use internet healthrel purpos averag peopl consid provis ehealth servic import choos new doctorconclus use internet communic known health profession still rare europ legal context health polici issu technic condit prevail differ countri might play major role situat interest associ ehealth servic high among citizen like increas

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