How Latin American Physicians Use the Internet
 
Miami, Aug 31, 2007  

As in the rest of the world these days, healthcare professionals from across Latin America use the internet to be informed. Surprisingly, a majority use their free time to do so. A recent survey by global healthcare market research company Medimix International shows that most physicians throughout Latin American connect to the internet from their home, not from their office or other public place. Over 90% of Brazilian doctors report connecting from home. In Argentina, Mexico and Colombia, over 80% of physicians connect from home. On average, 50% of Latin American doctors connect on a computer at work. Very few connect at cybercafés in the region.

Medimix International recently interviewed by phone over 1,000 physicians in 10 Latin American countries on their internet use habits. Questions about where doctors connect, frequency of connection, professional reasons for which they connect, length of time connected and the sources they use to learn new information were asked.

One third of physicians surveyed in Latin America state that they connect to the internet many times a day. Forty percent of physicians throughout the region say that they connect “at least once a day”. About a fifth of physicians connect less often than once a day, but very few report less than once a week.

The number one reason reported for connecting for professional reasons is to search for information about diseases. The second most popular reason to connect is to search for information on therapies. In Brazil, especially, another important reason to go online is to search for information about drugs, with 42% of physicians in that country stating this as their main reason to connect. Throughout the smaller countries of Latin America, including Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Costa Rica, 54% of physicians surveyed use the internet to know sites in order to recommend them to patients.

“This is clearly a new opportunity for a broader medical education, better information and access to quality information for a larger base of physicians, even in remote places. It underlines the importance of consistent communication globally,” explains Henry Gazay, CEO of Medimix International.

When asked what sources they use to find professional information in general (books, congresses, internet, journals, etc), Mexican physicians use the internet the most, at 70%. Throughout the region, 55% of respondents state that the Internet is their number 1 source for professional information. In Brazil, 42% of doctors say they turn to their medical books and periodicals. Colleagues are a last resort source for information for physicians in Latin America. Gazay says that “These results clearly show the growing importance of internet communication among physicians around the world, and in particular in emerging markets.”

In Argentina, 46% of doctors report staying online between 1 and 2 hours at a time. Twenty percent of Mexican physicians state that they are online between 2 and 4 hours at a time. The average length of time for each internet connection is about 1 hour for the region.
 
About Medimix International

Medimix International is a dynamic provider of advanced marketing research solutions for the healthcare industry worldwide. Medimix’s proprietary panel provides direct access to over 500,000 physicians and healthcare professionals from around the world, making it one of the largest panels in the industry. Medimix specializes in global research. Learn more at www.medimix.net.

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