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Can J Ophthalmol. 2009 Jun;44(3):265-8. doi: 10.3129/i09-057.

Computer and internet use by ophthalmologists and trainees in an academic centre.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S., Canada.



The purpose of this study was to determine computer, internet, and department web site use by members of the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ont.


Cross-sectional analysis.


Eighty-eight members of the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences who responded to a survey.


One hundred forty-eight department members (93 staff, 24 residents, and 31 fellows) were invited via e-mail to complete an online survey looking at computer and internet use. Participation was voluntary. Individuals who did not fill in an online response were sent a paper copy of the survey. No identifying fields were used in the data analysis.


A response rate of 59% (88/148) was obtained. Fifty-nine percent of respondents described their computer skill as "good" or better; 86.4% utilized a computer in their clinical practice. Performance of computer-related tasks included accessing e-mail (98.9%), accessing medical literature (87.5%), conducting personal affairs (83%), and accessing conference/round schedules (65.9%). The survey indicated that 89.1% of respondents accessed peer-reviewed material online, including eMedicine (60.2%) and UpToDate articles (48.9%). Thirty-three percent of department members reported never having visited the department web site. Impediments to web site use included information not up to date (27.3%), information not of interest (22.1%), and difficulty locating the web site (20.8%).


The majority of ophthalmologists and trainees in an academic centre utilize computer and internet resources for various tasks. A weak linear correlation was found between lower age of respondent and higher self-evaluated experience with computers (r = -0.43). Although use of the current department web site was low, respondents were interested in seeing improvements to the web site to increase its utility.

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