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Physicians' Changing Digital Behaviors


here is a bit of a gap between what doctors want to do with technology and what they actually are when it comes to medicine and learning, according to a study.

There is a bit of a gap between what doctors want to do with technology and what they actually are, according to a study. However, the April 2012 Joint Survey of Physician Digital Behavior revealed that doctors are expecting that gap to lessen.

While an overwhelming majority of doctors (84%) would prefer to attend continuing medical education training online, only 6.4% reported actually participating in virtual training or any virtual event very often.

Behind a preference for CME training, 31.6% of physicians are interested in pharmaceutical education, 29.4% in dinner meetings and 27% in medical device training.

"We're looking at a significant change in how doctors say they use and want to use virtual technology, and the results of the survey point to wider adoption and more meaningful use of online training anytime, anywhere," said Bill Reinstein, president and chief executive officer of MedData Group.

Three quarters of physicians said that they are seeing the number of virtual events and webcasts increasing, while 96% see the benefits of being able to attend conferences, meetings and CME events virtually.

The largest benefit (80.3%) is that these events can be viewed at the physician’s convenience. More than half (53.3%) noted that virtual events remove the hassle of traveling someplace they don’t want to visit. Just under half (45%) cited that virtual events mean more time at home, relaxing or having fun. Lastly, 35% said that one of the benefits of virtual events was better overall patient care.

Perhaps another reason physicians are becoming so enthusiastic about virtual events is because of they are increasingly using technology that makes virtual events easier to participate in. In particular, the high rate of iPad adoption in the medical field caters to more virtual events. Of the nearly 1,000 respondents, 74.3% said they either have or plan to buy an iPad in the next six months.

"These results demonstrate that virtual communication is becoming very important to the way doctors prefer to work," said Sharat Sharan, CEO of ON24. "In today's digital age, medical professionals increasingly prefer virtual events and webcasts wherever they are — at their desks, on their laptops or with any mobile device — over traveling to in-person events."

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