Internet and Online Medical Journal Access Skills of the Medical Practitioners of Tamilnadu: A Study

Internet and Online Medical Journal Access Skills of the Medical Practitioners of Tamilnadu: A Study

B. O. Sathivel Murugan (IRT-Perundurai Medical College, India) and S. Ally Sornam (Bishop Heber College, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4070-2.ch006


This study focuses on the allopathic medical practitioners’ skill to use online medical journals and barriers faced while seeking information. Five-hundred-twenty-nine medical practitioners are involved in this study. Among the total sample, one-third of the practitioners have skill to use the online medical journals and the remaining two-thirds of them do not have this skill. Gender and workplace of the practitioners do not have significant association in the access skill of the online medical journals. However, it is reversed for the practitioners’ educational qualification. Online medical journal access skill is in descending order of the practitioners’ educational qualification. The top three reasons for not using the online journals are presented in descending order: not knowing how to search (69.998%), lack of time (59.721%), and did not know the availability (58.609%). Government bodies (NIC, DPH, DME) and medical associations (IMA, S-IMA) associated with medical librarians may conduct digital information literacy level assessments of the medical practitioners and plan to organise digital information source awareness programs and hands-on training programs to the practitioners at regular intervals.
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This study is based on the following main objectives:

  • 1.

    To find out the allopathic medical practitioners skills to use of the Internet and online medical journals.

  • 2.

    To find out the practitioners reasons for not using the Internet and online medical journals.


Review Of Literature

Doctors use two million pieces of information to manage patients but little research has been done on the needs that arise while treating the patients. Textbooks, journals and other existing tools are not adequate to answer the questions that arise. Textbooks are out dated and the journals are too few for them to be useful in daily practice. Computer systems that have been developed to meet doctors’ needs are likely to be electronically portable, fast, easy to use, connected to both a large valid database of medical knowledge, patient record and a servant of patient as well as doctors (Smith, 1996).

Access to the Internet is wide spread among the German-speaking Swiss primary care physicians. Only few of the practitioners used the Internet for retrieval during consultation hours. Electronic systems need to be tailored to the needs of primary care physicians. Only 14% of the respondents regularly find it useful. The main reasons for not using the Internet were time pressure and concerns about potential negative integration with physician-patient communication. To solve patient-specific problems arising during daily practice, 59% of the practitioners consult textbooks or colleagues (Koller, 2001).

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