News Feature | May 5, 2014

Search Engines Top Support For Physician Decisions

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Doctor's Using Search Engines For Decision Support

A report from the MedData Group found the majority of physicians surveyed use search engines as their most common form of clinical decision support.

When seeking support for clinical decision making, 78 percent of physicians surveyed in a recent MedData report say they use search engines. Of all the web-based tools used by those surveyed, search engines were by far the most popular, followed by informational or industry specific email, HIPAA secure online physician communities, other sources, blogs, and social media. Ten percent said they did not use web-based resources.

When physicians did use web-based resources, they usually relied on clinical case studies, research reports, instructional videos, and whitepapers. Less often, they used webcasts and other resources.

Physicians also reported their top challenges to what MedData is calling the “Health 2.0 Movement,” a shift to digital health resources. Most commonly, physicians reported patients misinterpreting what they read online is a problem and causes tension in the doctor-patient relationship. A report from Mavkosky health reported that the average patient spends 52 hours a year researching health information.

Also, web-based resources can often contain inaccurate information compiled by users. Another concern was the difficulty in protecting patient information once it is made digital. While a Ponemon Survey found most patients trust their provider to protect their information, half aren’t sure they can. In addition, 60 percent of patients surveyed said they would find another provider if they believed theirs could not protect their records.