Healthcare: Doctors favour journals above reps for med info

Medical journals are more important sources of information to doctors than sponsored meetings and company reps, according to a poll.

Doctors across all specialities rated journals above medical education and the internet/CD-ROMs, according to the Hospital Readership Survey 2005.

The poll revealed that on average senior doctors read two general weekly journals and just over two publications related to their speciality. More than half of doctors (55 per cent) found medical journals 'very useful' for their work, while just four per cent had the same view of sales reps (see table).

Half of the doctors found reps to be 'not very useful' or 'not at all useful'.

Specialist journals scored relatively better for clinical content and original research while general weekly publications were seen as stronger for news coverage.

The Hospital Readership Survey, undertaken for the first time this year, polled around 1,090 doctors across 28 specialities. It was sponsored by 11 publishing members of the PPA Professional Media and six media buying agencies. Polling took place over two periods, between September last year and June this year.

DOCTORS' INFORMATION SOURCES How useful do you find the following in your work as a doctor? MEDICAL JOURNALS Very useful 55% Quite useful 39% Not very useful 3% Not at all useful n/a Don't know n/a COMPANY REPRESENTATIVE Very useful 4% Quite useful 41% Not very useful 38% Not at all useful 12% Don't know 1% SPONSORED MEETINGS Very useful 19% Quite useful 56% Not very useful 18% Not at all useful 2% Don't know 1% INTERNET/CD-ROMS Very useful 25% Quite useful 41% Not very useful 19% Not at all useful 6% Don't know 5% MEDICAL EDUCATION (e.g. BOOKLETS) Very useful 38% Quite useful 52% Not very useful 6% Not at all useful 1% Don't know 1%

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