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The Internet and the medical radiation science practitioner

Shanahan, M., Herrington, A. and Herrington, J. (2009) The Internet and the medical radiation science practitioner. Radiography, 15 (3). pp. 233-241.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.radi.2008.05.002
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Abstract

Purpose
The Internet is an important information source for health practitioners providing immediate access to the most current health and medical information. Factors limiting practitioner access to the Internet have been identified and the literature shows that access to the Internet varies across and within health professions. There is therefore a need for each health profession to investigate practitioner access to the Internet. There has been, however, no identified empirical research investigating medical radiation science (MRS) practitioner access to or use of the Internet. This research sought to establish the professional use of Internet-based tools by Australian MRS practitioners and issues affecting access to the Internet within MRS workplaces.

Methods
Qualitative and quantitative approaches were used in this research. These included interviews with 28 MRS practitioners from the four areas of specialisation, namely nuclear medicine, radiation therapy, radiography and sonography and a survey of MRS practitioners. In 2007 a 4-page postal survey was sent to a random sample of 1142 MRS practitioners with a response rate of 32.8%.

Results
The Internet is an important information source widely used by MRS practitioners. MRS practitioners search the Internet (87%), access specific web pages (86%), use email (82%) and listservs (39.4%) to update their professional knowledge. It was evident that access to the Internet within the workplace varied within the MRS profession. Whilst the majority (96.4%) of MRS practitioners had some level of access to the Internet in their workplace, factors shown to affect practitioner access were workplace setting (p = 0.000), work environment (p = 0.000), and geographic location (p = 0.025). The majority of clinical workplaces (81%) did not provide practitioners with remote access to electronic resources available in the workplace such as e-journals and databases.

Conclusions
This research provides baseline data to the MRS profession on the professional use of the Internet by MRS practitioners and issues limiting the accessibility of information available through the Internet to MRS practitioners. These issues must be addressed by organisations such as professional societies, registration bodies and workplaces that currently recognise or mandate that MRS practitioners must stay up-to-date with the changing knowledge base of their profession.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: W. B. Saunders Co., Ltd.
Copyright: 2008 The College of Radiographers
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/5409
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