More providers catch Web fever

Physicians’ use of the Internet has nearly doubled over the past two years, says the American Medical Association. According to the AMA, nearly 37% of physicians are using the Internet, up from 20% in 1997.

The main Internet functions doctors like to use include sending and receiving electronic mail; accessing medical, travel, and product information; and communicating with professional associations.

"Even physicians who are not now using the Net have accepted the inevitability that they will soon have to. In a few years, not using the Internet will be as unthinkable as not using the telephone for providers," says Tom Ferguson, MD, adjunct professor of health informatics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Austin.