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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 63  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 215-219

Internet and doctor–patient relationship: Cross-sectional study of patients' perceptions and practices


1 Medical Student, Department of Community Medicine, Dr. D. Y. Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra, India
2 Professor and Head, Department of Community Medicine, Dr. D. Y. Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Amitav Banerjee
Department of Community Medicine, Dr. D. Y. Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune - 411 018, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijph.IJPH_392_18

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Background: With the rapid rolling out of the information highway, an increasing number of patients are accessing the Internet for medical information. Against this background, the present study was undertaken. Objectives: To ascertain patients' use and opinion on impact of Internet on doctor–patient relationship. Methods: A cross-sectional study was done. A total of 709 patients was interviewed, 307 from urban and 402 from rural field practice areas. Institutional ethical approval was obtained before data collection. Categorical data were summarized by percentages with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Quantitative data were summarized by mean and standard deviation. Associations were explored using odds ratio (OR) with 95% CI for categorical data and two sample t-test for quantitative data. Results: Internet for medical information was used by 50.35% of the patients (95% CI = 46.68, 54.02). More urban patients, i.e., 79.48% used Internet compared to rural patients, i.e., 28.11%. This difference was significant, OR = 9.9 (95% CI = 6.9, 14.0; P < 0.0001). Users of Internet had about 4 years more schooling than nonusers. This was significant, P < 0.0001. More users believed that this trend will improve the doctor–patient relations (51.26%), compared to nonusers (17.05%). This difference was significant, OR = 5.11, 95% CI = 3.61, 7.22, P < 0.0001. Conclusions: A large proportion of patients used Internet to get medical information, significantly more urban patients compared to rural patients. The implication of this is that doctors in times to come will be dealing with patients empowered by online health information.


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