The adoption of Internet technology among general practitioners in KwaZulu-Natal
The pharmaceutical industry is in the midst of a fundamental transformation. Time and cost constraints are forcing marketers to search for new ways to maintain and grow brand awareness. The amount of time that doctors allow for representatives to market their products is becoming less and less and as a result products are not getting the exposure they used to. Organisations that find innovative ways to maintain exposure of their products may gain a competitive advantage over those organisations that rely on traditional marketing methods. The prolific increase in the use of the internet may provide pharmaceutical organisations with a complementary channel to market their products. The objective of this study is to determine the levels of internet technology adoption among general practitioners. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) is one of the most influential research models in studies of the determinants of information systems/ information technology (IS/IT) acceptance. In TAM, perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use are hypothesised and empirically supported as fundamental determinants of user acceptance of a given IS/IT. Using TAM, this study sets out to determine general practitioners’ intention to use the internet as a source of pharmaceutical information. The literature review provides an extensive evaluation on the development of TAM and its application in different technologies. Based on these findings, the researcher developed this study to investigate internet technology acceptance in the pharmaceutical industry. Use is made of the descriptive survey method and data is retrieved from a sample of 105 general practitioners in Kwazulu-Natal. The observation is made via the benefit of a questionnaire. The process of sampling is that of convenient sampling. The analysis is quantitative and makes use of statistical analysis appropriate for the data. Analysis of the survey results produces useful insights into the factors influencing internet technology adoption by general practitioners. When analysing the independent variables, respondents were not in strong agreement about the perceived usefulness nor the perceived ease of use of internet technology as a source of pharmaceutical information. However, positive results from the relationships between the independent (perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use) and dependent variables (attitude and intention to use) provide valuable data with which organisations may develop internet-based marketing strategies. Based on the survey findings, recommendations using the Beynon-Davies (2004) Internet Adoption Model are suggested.