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Acad Med. 2004 Jun;79(6):580-90.

Computer use among community-based primary care physician preceptors.

Author information

1
Department of Community and Family Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA. Patricia.A.Carney@dartmouth.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Use of the Internet to access biomedical information in patient care has important implications in medical education. Little is known about how community-based clinical teachers use computers in their offices and what factors, such as age, may influence use.

METHOD:

A total of 178 active community-based primary care preceptors were mailed a 15-item questionnaire about their computer equipment; Internet use; and specific applications in patient care, patients' education, medical students' or residents' education, or accessing other clinical and/or research information. Data analysis used descriptive statistics, chi-square for comparisons of categorical data and analysis of variance (ANOVA) mixed model for comparisons of continuous variables. All tests were two-tailed with alpha set at.05 to determine statistical significance.

RESULTS:

In all, 129 preceptors responded (73%). Office computer availability was high (92%). The Internet as a clinical information resource was used most frequently (98%) and MD Consult and Medline-EBM were used less frequently (20% and 21%, respectively). No statistical differences were found in routine use by age of preceptor; frequency of use did differ. Preceptors 60 years or older were four times more likely to use the Internet to assist in students' and residents' education (p =.02) and at least twice as likely to use full text Medline articles for patient care decisions (p =.05) than their younger colleagues. Decreased computer use was related to lack of time (45%) or other logistical reasons (40%), such as the computer's distance from the patient care areas or slow connections.

CONCLUSIONS:

Rates of computer access and Internet connectivity were high among community-based preceptors of all ages. Uses of specific online clinical and/or educational resources varied by preceptors' age with more rather than less use among older preceptors, an unexpected finding.

PMID:
15165980
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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