Background: Access to the Internet increases rapidly among physicians as well as in the general populations. We have monitored Norwegian physicians' use of the Internet over several years.
Materials and method: During the spring of 2000, 1,318 out of 1,589 (83%) Norwegian physicians answered a questionnaire which included several questions on their use of the Internet.
Results: Nine out of ten Norwegian physicians have Internet access and one out of four finds the Net useful or very useful in keeping professionally updated or in their daily work. Half of the physicians read e-mail several times per week, but only one out of ten receive e-mail from patients, most of them only occasionally. Physicians' access to the Internet has increased from 38% to 90% since 1997, particularly access from home. Two out of three general practitioners only have access to the Internet from home. Physicians with Internet access both from home and from work use the net more frequently for professional purposes than others and report a higher degree of usefulness of the Internet.
Interpretation: The Internet is now an integrated part of physicians' daily life. Electronic communication between doctors and patients is, however, still infrequent and there may be a potential for improved doctor-patient-communication over the Internet.