Internet Use by Colorectal Surgery Patients: A Surgeon's Tool for Education and Marketing

Lake, Jeffrey P.; Ortega, Adrian; Vukasin, Petar; Kaiser, Andreas M.; Kaufman, Howard S.; Beart Jr., Robert W.
June 2004
American Surgeon;Jun2004, Vol. 70 Issue 6, p553
Academic Journal
The goal of this study is to understand the role of the Internet in the education and recruitment of patients within colorectal surgery practices. Surveys of Internet use were completed by 298 patients visiting five outpatient colorectal surgery clinics affiliated with the University of Southern California. Data collected included the patient's age, gender, level of education, zip code at home, type of clinic visited, and information on the respondent's Internet use. Overall, 20 per cent of the respondent patients visiting our clinics had used the Internet to research the medical condition that prompted their visit. Highest grade level completed (P < 0.001), age (P < 0.01), type of clinic (P < 0.001), and household income (P < 0.001) were all found to be associated with any prior use of the Internet whereas gender was not (P = 0.58). Among Internet users, only household income and frequent use of the Internet were associated with searching the Internet for medical information (P < 0.001). Ultimately, all of the Internet-using patients surveyed felt the medical information they found was "somewhat" or "very helpful." Understanding which patients "go online" to search for medical information is essential for surgeons who wish to use the Internet for marketing their practices and educating their patients.


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