Internet information and email: shaping professional / patients relationship

November 27, 2009

“Innovative health technologies: health systems in transition Workshop”

Supported by: Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3)

Organized by: Francisco Lupiáñez-Villanueva (Internet Interdisciplinary Institute –UOC) and Michael Hardey (Hull/York Medical School – Science and Technology Studies Unit, Department of Sociology, University of York)

Data: 27th November

Place: UOC IN3 building. Av. Canal Olímpic, s/n. Edifici B3, 08860 Castelldefels (Barcelona)

Francisco Lupiáñez-Villanueva and Michael Hardey – Health professionals, the Internet and Internet informed patients

The practice of medicine and health care has been increasingly influence by and made use of the Internet as a source of information, communication and social interaction. This paper examines how doctors, nurses and community pharmacists use the Internet and how this shapes their interaction with patients. It is based on data from surveys of doctors, nurses and pharmacists working within the Catalan National Health Care System (CNHS) that were carried out during 2006. The consequent data provides an extensive and detailed quantitative database that is amenable to multivariate statistical analysis. This analysis is described and from it the manner in which the different health professions engage with Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the Internet is identified.  It is suggested that the Internet should now be understood as part of mundane work and that professionals have recognised that it can be an important source of information and support for patients. There appears to be a cumulative effect whereby the more engaged with ICTs practitioners become the more likely they recognise and respond to patients who want to discuss and use resources and information from the Internet.