Background: The Internet has become an important new tool for the delivery and acquisition of medical information. Methods: A 13-item questionnaire designed to collect information on the attitudes and practices of surgeons regarding the use of the Internet as a medical resource was posted on the World Wide Web and also sent via e-mail. Results: Over a 2-month period, 459 surgeons were enrolled in this study. Most of the respondents were identified as male surgeons (96%) between the ages of 31 and 50 years (79.25%). They accessed the Internet mainly from their homes (67.10%) and offices (17%) using 56 Kbps (34.86%) and 33.6 Kbps (21.79%) modems. These participants indicated that they use the Internet to expand their knowledge of general surgery (78.87%), learn more about technologies related to the practice of surgery (74.51%), access the Medline medical database (73.20%), and locate other resources for academic purposes (68%). Approximately half of them said that they favored the use of robotic assist devices in the operating room (53%), and most supported the use of technology for telementoring purposes (78%). Almost 80% professed an interest in video streaming technology applied to surgical education. Conclusions: This study showed that the Internet is a useful and powerful real-time survey tool that can help us to assess the impact of the World Wide Web and related technologies on surgical education and practice. However, the respondents in this study belong to a biased group that is already familiar with the Internet and computer technology and thus may not be representative of the surgical community as a whole.
- Video streaming
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