Easy access to online medical information has made interactions between doctors and patients challenging, according to the Physician Digital Outlook 2014 survey, jointly commissioned by Ipsos Healthcare and Ruder Finn. According to the Physician Digital Outlook 2014 survey, close to 50 per cent of Indian physicians believe that with increased availability of medical information to patients, through online media, they face huge difficulty in consulting their patients. With a robust sample of 650 physicians across metros, tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 cities in India, the report investigated physicians’ online behaviour, use of digital and social media channels in the digital and mobile age. The surveyed physicians believe that 44 per cent of their patients are overloaded with medical information, 37 per cent patients perceive themselves as experts and 38 per cent are misinformed about their symptoms and disease. While face to face interactions with patients is still the most prominent method of consultation, phone calls and SMSes are now emerging as the more preferred options for doctors to communicate with their patients. Though, 93-98 per cent doctors use this mode to interact with their patients, 78 per cent of doctors connect over emails. The sample group for the survey covered general physicians, consulting physicians, paediatricians, dermatologists, diabetologists, endocrinologists, cardiologists, gynaecologists, radiologists, general surgeons, oncologists, nephrologists and intensivists. The study explores how emerging modes of information and communications have impacted the doctor-patient relationship,” said Mai Tran, executive vice president, Health & Wellness, Ruder Finn Asia. Dr. Bharat Shah, director, Global Hospital, Mumbai said that due to the widespread reach and usage of internet, there has been a truly phenomenal increase in easy availability of information. While it’s good to have access to internet for updating knowledge, most of the times a non-medical person is likely to get confused by it. It is not simple for patients to derive a correct interpretation of their health problems by simply reading viewing information on the internet.” “Patients access information about health conditions which they self-diagnose and then bring it up to their consulting physicians, have led the latter to spend additional time trying to correct the misinformation that the patients accumulate over time, said Dr. A.K. Jhingan, chairman, Delhi Diabetic Research Center. Monica Gangwani, executive director, Ipsos Healthcare, India, said that there is empowered patient and caregiver who want to seek clarity from the physicians regarding treatment. Physician Digital Outlook 2014 survey also revealed that Physicians from tier 1 cities are becoming internet savvy, and access it for 6 hours a day compared to other town classes while physicians from tier 2 cities have a slightly low usage of 3 hours per day, in comparison to their counterparts in metros.