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T-Space at The University of Toronto Libraries >
Journal of Medical Internet Research >
Volume 1 (1999) >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/4426

Title: Medical pioneers in cyberspace: German practice owners advertising on the WWW
Authors: Schuh, Claudia
Keywords: Short Paper
Established physicians
marketing of health services
private sector
public relations
practice management
Issue Date: 5-Aug-1999
Publisher: Gunther Eysenbach; Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, Toronto, Canada
Citation: Claudia Schuh. Medical pioneers in cyberspace: German practice owners advertising on the WWW. J Med Internet Res 1999;1(1):e2 <URL: http://www.jmir.org/1999/1/e2/>
Abstract: [This item is a preserved copy and is not necessarily the most recent version. To view the current item, visit http://www.jmir.org/1999/1/e2/ ] Background: In the last few years, the number of Internet users has increased explosively. In the same way the number of Internet users has exploded, the costs in the public health sector have also increased. This resulted cost saving efforts by those responsible people in politics and medical administration. These economy measures have impacted in particular the established physicians. The current German practice owners are faced with an unknown economic situation and are forced to think and act like businessmen. Doubts arise concerning the age-old tradition of the advertising prohibition. Now advertisement is recognized as an important necessity. Objectives: This study was conducted to answer the following questions: Who are the pioneers among the German practice owners presenting themselves to the public with their own website? How do they differ from their colleagues not advertising on the WWW? What motives and expectations do they associate with their website? Methods: Built on a detailed analysis of the relevant German and international literature, hypotheses were developed which were empirically checked in the further course of the work. For this purpose, an online survey was conducted on the WWW among established German physicians with their own websites. Results: 194 physicians participated and 159 valid questionnaires were included in the analysis. The study revealed the following results: The age and sex distribution as well as the distribution of medical specialties in the examined group correspond to the expectations. A high percentage of the respondents participated in a medical professional organization. The median time in practice for practice age of the respondents was a little more than ten years. Many of the websites have been online less than one year. The following hypotheses could only partly be confirmed by the results of the survey: Physicians from different specialties deal with their own website differently. The Internet Familiarity of the physicians is responsible for the importance they attach to advertisement on the web, particularly to their own website. Surprisingly, the attitude towards the advertising prohibition in Germany, apparently results less from economic considerations than from age-conditioned opinions. The size of a medical practice did not influence the attitude of the physicians towards their own website. However, the type of practice in which a physician works played a crucial role in this context. Conclusion: At present, the importance of the Internet for recruiting new patients is still small, but we anticipate it will continue to expand in the future.
Description: Reviewer: Mack, John
Reviewer: van der Slikke, Hans
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/4426
ISSN: 1438-8871
Other Identifiers: doi:10.2196/jmir.1.1.e2
Rights: Copyright (cc) Retained by author(s) under a Creative Commons License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Appears in Collections:Volume 1 (1999)

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