A new survey by the European Commission on the use of ICT among general practitioners in Europe, ranks Denmark as the leading nation, with the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Great Britain completing the top five, writes Computerworld. The survey 'Benchmarking ICT use among General Practitioners in Europe' included interviews with GPs on the use of IT in their daily work.
The European Commission writes in a press release that the use of electronic services in healthcare (eHealth) has a growing role in the doctor's practice. There are however wide differences across countries: "Denmark has the highest broadband penetration among General Practitioners (91%), Romania the lowest (about 5%)."
The survey also shows that countries most advanced in ICT access and connectivity are more likely to use them for professional purposes: "For example, Denmark, where high-speed internet is the most widely available in Europe, sees extensive use of email communication between doctors and patients in about 60% of practices (the EU average is only 4%)."
Lisbeth Nielsen, departmental head of Danish Regions comments: "We still have a way to go to reach full use of mail consultations, but the figure has doubled each year since the voluntary introduction five years ago."
From 1 January 2009, it will be obligatory in Denmark for GPs to offer patients mail consultation as a way to receive advice, for example regarding vaccinations before travelling to exotic destinations and results of blood tests.
The press release from the European Commission also mentions that the survey "highlights areas for improvement and further deployment, such as electronic prescriptions (e-Prescribing), which is practiced by only 6% of EU General Practitioners. This is widely used in only three member states: Denmark (97%), Sweden (81%) and the Netherlands (71%)."