Does Australian state location influence MRS practitioners' access to and use of the internet?

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Abstract

The internet is an important information resource used by health practitioners to access the most current health and medical information. In Australia, the public health system is managed and operated independently at state and territory level and this raises the potential for differential access to the internet to exist within workplaces across government boundaries such as Australian states. This paper examines the effect of Australian state on access to and use of the internet by comparing medical radiation science (MRS) workplaces in Queensland and Victoria. Survey design was used to collect data. In 2007, a questionnaire was sent to 1067 Australian MRS practitioners in Victoria and Queensland, with a response rate of 31.1%. The results show that internet access within workplaces varied across and within Australian states. Victorian practitioners in the public sector reported the highest level of internet connectivity within their workplace with 64% of practitioners reporting internet access on all workplace computers compared to 13% of practitioners employed in the public sector in Queensland (P = 0.000). Victorian practitioners in the public sector also reported greater use of the internet (P = 0.000) and valued it higher as a resource for updating their professional knowledge (P = 0.011) than their colleagues in the public sector in Queensland. Approximately one-third of practitioners employed in the private sector in both Queensland and Victoria reported internet access on all computers in their workplace (P = 0.885). There exists a digital divide within MRS workplaces which must be addressed so regardless of state or health sector of employment, practitioners can avail themselves of current health and medical information made available through the internet that supports them in staying up-to-date with the changing knowledge base of their profession.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-20
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Medical Radiation Sciences
Volume56
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes

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