Docs who tap online resources likelier to embrace new medical practices

Physicians are skipping conferences and instead culling data from trusted peers online. Pharma relationships are riding the digital wave, too.

Will we soon see cobwebs on the bookshelves in doctors’ private offices and libraries?

New research indicates social physician networks may be more influential than cumbersome, printed medical journals. That’s according to Kevin McCarthy, editor at NueMD.

“The traditional [adoption] model is that a study is published in a journal and discussed at medical conferences, and then doctors in that field are supposed to integrate that into their clinical practice,” says Dr. Curtis Weiss, lead author of the study. “The problem is doctors are busy and do not always read the journals or go to those conferences.”

McCarthy says the researchers concluded that peer recommendations about new procedures could speed adoption and help improve the quality of patient care.

In a recent article published by InformationWeek, Jon Michaeli, senior vice president of global community and marketing at Sermo, said access to information is crucial. “Members have access to some 35 percent of the U.S. physician population to engage in discussion on any health care topic in an open, collaborative environment.” Sermo is a free, physician-only community.

With more and more physicians transitioning to electronic health records and patient portals, pharmaceutical reps are also experiencing changes in their routines.

A post on LinkedIn from Mark Bard, CEO of Digital Insights Group, cites research from his company in the third quarter of 2014. “Primary care physicians spent 33 percent of their time accessing pharmaceutical information in a digital format. That’s much more time than what they spent with reps, conferences or other ‘traditional’ sources,” Bard says. Previously published material.

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