Gold Coast general practitioners' recommendations of health websites to their patients
OBJECTIVE: To identify trends associated with health website recommendations by selected general practitioners to their patients. DESIGN AND SETTING: Quantitative data collection using a prepaid postal survey, consisting of 17 questions, mailed to 250 of 410 GPs (61%) on the Gold Coast, Queensland. The survey was conducted between 9 October and 11 December 2006. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: GPs' website recommendations to patients; associated GP demographic variables (age, sex and years of practice). RESULTS: 59% (64/108) of participating GPs recommend health websites to their patients during consultations. Male GPs (63%, 45/72), those aged 41-50 years (55%, 35/64), and those practising for < 10 years (60%, 12/20) are more inclined to recommend a health website to a patient. The majority of GPs (69%, 44/64) reported that they most often recommended websites to patients 26-45 years old. 53% of GPs (34/64) recommended websites to 1%-20% of their male patients, while 47% (30/64) recommended websites to 21%-40% of their female patients. A greater proportion of participating female GPs (47%, 17/36) do not recommend health websites, compared with male GPs (38%, 27/72). CONCLUSIONS: More than half the surveyed GPs actively recommend websites to their patients, with a GP's sex, age and years of experience influencing his or her recommendation decisions. Web-based continuing medical education courses or programs in medical schools may help doctors develop the skills necessary for the delivery of effective e-health care.
Medical Journal of Australia