Advancements in technology have made it possible to put an ever expanding breadth of information into the hands of cardiologists through the click of a button.
Physicians go online for different reasons. While there is a universal need for the latest clinical guidelines (77%) and browsing by topics (58%), practitioners in private practice are more apt to go online for CME credit (76%), clinical searches (67%) and drug information (44%); academic and hospital-based physicians are more focused on online textbooks/references (57%) and journal scans (57%).
Different online resources deliver different benefits to practitioners. Not surprisingly, private practitioners and non-private practitioners differ in their website usage; the private practitioner focuses on point of care patient treatment resources, while the non-private practitioner is more likely to seek academic research.
The most commonly cited websites for private practitioners are CardioSource.org* (70%), followed by UpToDate.com (65%), and then by epocrates.com (48%). Non-private practice cardiologists are more likely to use PubMed/MEDLINE (76%) and UptoDate.com (51%). Cardiologists go to CardioSource.org for clinical guideline information (93%), educational needs/learning (78%), and clinical trial information (70%).
With UpToDate.com, cardiologists are primarily seeking information on treatment/patient condition (84%), followed by educational needs/learning (62%), and then by teaching/instruction of a colleague (51%). Epocrates.com is used for accessing information on drugs (93%); while checking references (82%), looking for clinical trial information (55%), and information on treatment/patient condition (52%) are the benefits of going to PubMed/MEDLINE.
In terms of website usage, most cardiologists visit CardioSource.org, UpToDate.com, and PubMed/MEDLINE with the same frequency - on a weekly to monthly basis. Epocrates.com,has a higher rate of usage with more daily and weekly visits, due to the need for referencing drug information at the point of care and the ease of use with its mobile interface. Clearly physicians are taking advantage of online resources at the point of care in the effort to provide patients with care based on the evidence and best available scientific knowledge.
* CardioSource.org is now ACC.org.