The Internet as a distance-learning tool is evolving rapidly. Most Internet-based Continuing Education (CE) experiences follow a standard didactic approach as demonstrated by lectures, slide presentations, written journals, videotape, and audiotape; however, some Internet-based educators are exploring the full interactive, problem-solving potential of Internet technology. With support from NIMH we are reviewing the state of the art in Internet-based CE and developing CE courses targeted toward primary care providers that aim to alter clinical skills related to depression treatment.
Why do Americans look for health information on the Internet? There are several reasons, but convenience is paramount. Users can access Internet health information at any time. In addition, the information retrieved online is often more detailed than what harried physicians and health care workers can provide. The Internet also offers a means to get a "second opinion" without the hassles of a referral, and can provide a way to communicate with others in similar situations or with similar problems.