Background The occurence of Internet in the field of health profoundly modified medical knowledge of the patients and relationships between practitioners and patients.
Objectives To characterize the change in patients and rheumatologists’ behavior due to the increasing influence of Internet and its impact on relationships between practitioners and patients.
Methods Epidemiological survey performed during Eular congress in June, 2012.
Results · 624 rheumatologists from 67 countries (Europeans 59%, French 20.9%), with a mean age of 48 years, practicing at hospital or private clinics (62%) in cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants (66%).
· Rheumatologists know websites dedicated to osteoarthritis (83%) and consult them regularly (70%).
· Profile of patients looking for health information on Internet: mean age 59 years, high social and education levels (no influence of their global health or severity of their osteoarthritis).
· According to practioners, the impact of Internet on the relationships between patient and practioneris important: 63.37 mm (VAS, 0-100).
· 52% of the rheumatologists know patients’ social networks from which 76% verify their contents and 80% show them to the patients.
· Concerning rheumatic diseases, the impact of Internet is positive as estimated at 64 mm (VAS, 0-100).
· Patients’ networks have a favorable impact on osteoarthritis management (64 mm on VAS 0-100) and most of rheumatologists consider more important the positive effect of Internet on compliance to treatment.
· For 29% of practitioners, around 10% of patients with knee or hip OA consult one health website and 81% of them are spontaneously informed about it by patients themselves while 68% have to ask about it and 56% show websites to their patients.
· Concerned websites are those with patients’ testimonies (86%), discussion groups (79%) or are national websites [P1] (71%).
· On Internet, patients are looking for information and advices (95%) concerning pharmacological (93%) and non pharmacological (90%) OA treatments, but also concerning OA disease (85%) and its change (89%) as well as alternate treatments (89%).
· More than 68% of the practitioners declare that Internet modified their therapeutic attitude by offering a better knowledge on the pharmacological treatments (> 90%), but also a better knowledge of the other therapeutic strategies (physiotherapy 91%, food complements 89%, acupuncture 76%).
Conclusions · 80% of the rheumatologists think that knee and hip OA Internet contents are reliable and allow them to improve their disease management (79%) because of a better sharing of knowledge with the patients (94%) and of an improvement of compliance (92%).
· Rheumatologists are unanimous (96%) to consider that the learned societies (EULAR, OARSI, SFR) should develop their website dedicated to osteoarthritis.
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Acknowledgements This survey was sponsored by Laboratoires Expanscience (Courbevoie, France).
Disclosure of Interest R.-L. Dreiser Grant/research support from: Laboratoires Expanscience, P. Schwartz: None Declared