University of Oulu

Isomursu, M., Kuoremäki, R., Eho, J., & Teikari, M. (2022). The effect of Covid-19 in digital media use of Finnish physicians – Four wave longitudinal panel survey. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 159, 104677.

The effect of Covid-19 in digital media use of Finnish physicians : four wave longitudinal panel survey

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Author: Isomursu, Minna1; Kuoremäki, Reija2; Eho, Janne2;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, University of Oulu, PL 8000, 90014 Oulun yliopisto, Finland
2Success Clinic Oy, Itämerenkatu 5, 00180 Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-11-18


Background: Covid-19 pandemic has boosted digitalization in healthcare, as mobility restrictions and social distancing rules have made healthcare providers to adopt digital tools to replace or complement face-to-face interactions.

Purpose: We discuss the effects of Covid-19 pandemic on physicians’ use of digital media. We examine whether Covid-19 conditions have changed how physicians use internet resources for information search, how they engage in social media, and their attitude towards online events.

Basic procedures: The study was done as a longitudinal panel survey in four waves. The sample was a panel including active physicians in Finland. The panel was updated annually. Identical surveys were administered in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. Spring 2020 was the time when Finland executed mobility restrictions and re-organization of healthcare because of pandemic. Comparing results of the survey before and after Covid-19 restrictions gives us a unique opportunity to do comparative analysis of Covid-19 effects.

Main findings: Our results show that the use of digital media for information search stayed relatively stable without statistically significant change during the four-year period covered in the study. The use of social media rose steadily from 2018 to 2021 with no significant difference in the trend. However, there was a significant change in the attitude of Finnish physicians on online events. Year 2021, the attitude remained in this more positive level.

Principal conclusions: As use of digital media including social media was already high prior Covid-19 in Finland, our results do not show significant change because of special circumstances introduced in 2020. However, our results show that the attitudes towards online events turned more positive during Covid-19 related restrictions. This could indicate that Covid-19 era has triggered a change that might continue also when pandemic related restrictions will be removed.

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Series: International journal of medical informatics
ISSN: 1386-5056
ISSN-E: 1872-8243
ISSN-L: 1386-5056
Volume: 159
Article number: 104677
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2021.104677
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
  © 2021 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CC BY license (