OBJECTIVE: We investigated views towards the Internet in a sample of Italian healthcare specialists involved in epilepsy field, to identify factors associated with the attitude of being influenced by information found on the Internet.
METHODS: This study was a self-administered survey conducted in a group of members of the Italian Chapter of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) in January 2018.
RESULTS: 184 questionnaires were analyzed. 97.8 % of responders reported to seek online information on epilepsy. The Internet was most frequently searched to obtain new information (69.9 %) or to confirm a diagnostic or therapeutic decision (37.3 %). The influence of consulting the Internet on clinical practice was associated with registration to social network(s) (OR: 2.94; 95 %CI: 1.28-6.76; p = 0.011), higher frequency of Internet use (OR: 3.66; 95 %CI: 1.56-9.21; p = 0.006) and higher confidence in reliability of online information (OR: 2.61; 95 %CI: 1.09-6.26; p = 0.031). No association was found with age, sex, years in epilepsy practice or easiness to find online information.
CONCLUSION: Internet is frequently used among healthcare professionals involved in the epilepsy to obtain information about this disease. The attitude of being influenced by the Internet for diagnostic and/or therapeutic decisions in epilepsy is independent on age and years of experience in epilepsy, and probably reflects an individual approach towards the Web.