As more and more information technology (IT) resources become available both for support of campus- based medical education and for Web-based learning, it becomes increasingly interesting to map the information technology resources available to medical students and the attitudes students have towards their use.
To determine how extensively and effectively information handling skills are being taught in the medical curriculum, the study investigated Internet and computer availability and usage, and attitudes towards information technology among first-year medical students in Aarhus, Denmark, during a five-year period.
In the period from 1998 to 2002, students beginning the first semester of medical school were given courses on effective use of IT in their studies. As a part of the tutorials, the students were asked to complete a web-based questionnaire which included questions related to IT readiness and attitudes towards using IT in studies.
A total of 1159 students (78%) responded. Overall, 71.7% of the respondents indicating they had access to a computer at home, a number that did not change significantly during the study period. Over time, the power of students' computers and the use of e-mail and Internet did increase significantly. By fall 2002, approximately 90% of students used e-mail regularly, 80 % used the Internet regularly, and 60 % had access to the Internet from home. Significantly more males than females had access to a computer at home, and males had a more positive attitude towards the use of computers in their medical studies. A fairly constant number of students (3-7 %) stated that they would prefer not to have to use computers in their studies.
Taken together with our experience from classroom teaching, these results indicate optional teaching of basic information technology still needs to be integrated into medical studies, and that this need does not seem likely to disappear in the near future.
Older adults living in rural and urban areas have shown to distinguish themselves in technology adoption; a clearer profile of their Internet use is important in order to provide better technological and health-care solutions. Older adults' Internet use was investigated across large to midsize cities and rural Sweden. The sample consisted of 7181 older adults ranging from 59 to 100 years old. Internet use was investigated with age, education, gender, household economy, cognition, living alone/or with someone and rural/urban living. Logistic regression was used. Those living in rural areas used the Internet less than their urban counterparts. Being younger and higher educated influenced Internet use; for older urban adults, these factors as well as living with someone and having good cognitive functioning were influential. Solutions are needed to avoid the exclusion of some older adults by a society that is today being shaped by the Internet.
Patients' satisfaction of healthcare services and perception with in-home telerehabilitation and physiotherapists' satisfaction toward technology for post-knee arthroplasty: an embedded study in a randomized trial.
We measured the satisfaction of both patients and healthcare professionals with the technologies and services provided during in-home telerehabilitation as an alternative to conventional rehabilitation after discharge from total knee arthroplasty surgery.
This study was embedded in a larger controlled trial where 48 community-living older adults who received total knee arthroplasty were recruited prior to discharge from acute care following surgery and randomly assigned to treatment arms (Tele and Comparison). The participants' satisfaction with the services was assessed at the end of the intervention for both groups using the Healthcare Satisfaction Questionnaire. For the Tele group, the patients' perception of in-home telehealth was assessed before treatment and after completion of teletreatments. The satisfaction of the healthcare professionals with the technology during the telerehabilitation services was noted at the end of each treatment session using a technical quality subjective appreciation questionnaire.
Both groups of patients (Tele and Comparison) were satisfied with the services received and no significant difference was observed between them. Moreover, the physiotherapists' satisfaction with regard to goal achievement, patient-therapist relationship, overall session satisfaction, and quality and performance of the technological platform was high.
As patient satisfaction is important in maintaining motivation and treatment compliance and the satisfaction of healthcare professionals must be high in order for new treatments to become mainstream in clinics, the results show that in-home telerehabilitation seems to be a promising alternative to traditional face-to-face treatments.
To use technology effectively for the advancement of patient care, pharmacists must possess a variety of computer skills. We recently introduced a novel applied informatics program in this Canadian hospital clinical service unit to enhance the informatics skills of our members.
This study was conducted to gain a better understanding of the baseline computer skills and needs of our hospital pharmacists immediately prior to the implementation of an applied informatics program.
In May 2001, an 84-question written survey was distributed by mail to 106 practicing hospital pharmacists in our multi-site, 1500-bed, acute-adult-tertiary care Canadian teaching hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Fifty-eight surveys (55% of total) were returned within the two-week study period. The survey responses reflected the opinions of licensed BSc and PharmD hospital pharmacists with a broad range of pharmacy practice experience. Most respondents had home access to personal computers, and regularly used computers in the work environment for drug distribution, information management, and communication purposes. Few respondents reported experience with handheld computers. Software use experience varied according to application. Although patient-care information software and e-mail were commonly used, experience with spreadsheet, statistical, and presentation software was negligible. The respondents were familiar with Internet search engines, and these were reported to be the most common method of seeking clinical information online. Although many respondents rated themselves as being generally computer literate and not particularly anxious about using computers, the majority believed they required more training to reach their desired level of computer literacy. Lack of familiarity with computer-related terms was prevalent. Self-reported basic computer skill was typically at a moderate level, and varied depending on the task. Specifically, respondents rated their ability to manipulate files, use software help features, and install software as low, but rated their ability to access and navigate the Internet as high. Respondents were generally aware of what online resources were available to them and Clinical Pharmacology was the most commonly employed reference. In terms of anticipated needs, most pharmacists believed they needed to upgrade their computer skills. Medical database and Internet searching skills were identified as those in greatest need of improvement.
Most pharmacists believed they needed to upgrade their computer skills. Medical database and Internet searching skills were identified as those in greatest need of improvement for the purposes of improving practice effectiveness.
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BACKGROUND: In 1998 the Swedish noncommercial public health service Infomedica opened an Ask the Doctor service on its Internet portal. At no charge, anyone with Internet access can use this service to ask questions about personal health-related and disease-related matters. OBJECTIVE: To study why individuals choose to consult previously-unknown doctors on the Internet. METHODS: Between November 1, 2001, and January 31, 2002 a Web survey of the 3622 Ask the Doctor service users, 1036 men (29%) and 2586 (71%) women, was conducted. We excluded 186 queries from users. The results are based on quantitative and qualitative analysis of the answers to the question "Why did you choose to ask a question at Infomedica's 'Ask the Doctor' service?" RESULTS: 1223 surveys were completed (response rate 36 %). Of the participants in the survey 322 (26%) were male and 901 (74%) female. As major reasons for choosing to consult previously-unknown doctors on the Internet participants indicated: convenience (52%), anonymity (36%), "doctors too busy" (21%), difficult to find time to visit a doctor (16%), difficulty to get an appointment (13%), feeling uncomfortable when seeing a doctor (9%), and not being able to afford a doctors' visit (3%). Further motives elicited through a qualitative analysis of free-text answers were: seeking a second opinion, discontent with previous doctors and a wish for a primary evaluation of a medical problem, asking embarrassing or sensitive questions, seeking information on behalf of relatives, preferring written communication, and (from responses by expatriates, travelers, and others) living far away from regular health care. CONCLUSIONS: We found that that an Internet based Ask the Doctor service is primarily consulted because it is convenient, but it may also be of value for individuals with needs that regular health care services have not been able to meet.