Musculoskeletal Health Professional Use of Internet Resources for Personal and Patient Education: Results from an Online National Survey

The Open Rheumatology Journal 2 Aug 2012 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874312901206010190



To study the current practice of computer use in musculoskeletal health professionals for their education and that of their patients.


A survey questionnaire, designed by a working group including representatives from Arthritis Research UK and the British Society for Rheumatology, was made available on and the link distributed by email.


190 health professionals responded. Rheumatology professionals made up two thirds of the participants. The modal age group of responders was under 40 years (37%). 97% had spent some educational time on a computer. Females were younger and spent more time using the computer for education purposes. The preferred learning modality was interactive online content (71%). The most common methods of educating patients were the Consultant and Specialist nurse while the web is used by 40% of the health professionals. The most common barrier to education was ‘Insufficient resources for education groups’. Rheumatologists were more likely to log Continuous Professional Development (CPD) online, complete online modules and have mandatory training online. UpToDate and Arthritis Research UK were the highest rated websites for health professional and patient education respectively.


This is the first national survey of E-learning in the musculoskeletal health profession, with a large proportion of Rheumatologists. Almost all use computer based learning. Use of the internet for patient education is low. Highly rated educational websites are available for both professionals and patients.

Keywords: Computers, health, internet, musculoskeletal, education, e-learning..
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