Palliative care on the net: an online survey of health care professionals.
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A survey was conducted to explore Internet use by palliative care health professionals (HCP). The survey was placed on the World Wide Web with an underlying database, and palliative care HCP were invited to participate via a palliative-care-related website, listserv, and newsletter. A total of 417 evaluable responses were received over a four-month period. Of these, 36% indicated they were from physicians and 30% from nurses, a third of respondents were practicing palliative care full time. Although 63% of respondents were from North America, regions from all over the world were represented. Eighty-eight percent of respondents were searching the Internet for clinical information, 80% were using email, 69% were accessing online medical journals, and 59% were subscribers to a palliative-care-related listserv or newsgroup. This survey illustrates the global outreach of the Internet and draws attention to the growing interest in the use of the Internet for education, research, and clinical use. Further development of online resources should address the needs of users. Evaluation of these resources is called for.
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