Google the tool of choice for Australian doctors

A study published in this month’s Australian Family Physician shows that more than half of Australian general practitioners use the Internet during a consultation, and Google is the most common website they visit, at a rate higher than the next five most popular websites combined.

More than half of all respondents (56%) – and every one of the doctors surveyed in the 20-30 age group – used the Internet during consultations. Looks like the millions spent by the government offering free broadband to GPs all around Australia has had some payoff, with 93% of respondents using broadband in their practice and only 3% on dial-up. Interestingly, only 63% of the GPs said they used email at work (though 92% used it at home) – more work to be done to move to email consultations (aside from reimbursement issues).

Ninety per cent used a clinical software package, with 98% of those using the package for prescribing, 85% to order tests and 64% to record progress notes.

The study was conducted by Edith Cowan University and was based on 1,186 surveys from the Osborne Division of General Practice in Perth.



Digital in budget?

All the talk about tonight’s Federal Budget speech centred on welfare, tax, health, education and climate change. Despite all the rhetoric before the election about the need to secure Australia’s future as a digital leader, I haven’t seen much about tackling that issue – a simple way would be to address the appalling bandwidth situation. I suppose Rudd has a few other things on his mind…