GPs may be more digitally engaged than ever before but they still like reading their medical news the old-fashioned way.

The continuing relevance of print to GPs is highlighted in new industry research that also shows where digital sits in their world.

The survey, commissioned annually by Medical Publishers of Australia, quizzed almost 1000 GPs about their reading habits.

Six publications were covered including Australian Doctor (weekly), Australian Journal of General Practice – formerly AFP (monthly), Medical Journal of Australia (fortnightly), Medical Observer (monthly), Medical Republic (fortnightly) and Medicine Today (monthly).

For the seventh year in a row, Australian Doctor came out on top, showing unmatched reach and engagement across both its print and digital channels.

Australian Doctor’s average issue readership (AIR) among GPs was 71%, followed by Medicine Today at 68% and Medical Observer 61.2%

Elsewhere, Australian Journal of General Practice (AJGP) achieved 55.6% AIR, Medical, Republic 53.2% and Medical Journal of Australia 32%.

Most of the results were broadly consistent with last year although AJGP experienced a notable decline, dropping from second place in AIR to fourth.

The authors of the survey attributed this to “readership rebuilding” since the publication’s relaunch.

Just over 6% of GPs said they didn’t read any medical media during the four-month survey period.

Meanwhile, Australian Doctor’s print magazine was read by close to nine in every 10 GPs, and more than seven in 10 read it weekly, the survey shows.

In the digital space, Australian Doctor and its features-based sister title, Medical Observer comfortably claimed first and second spot, engaging 47% and 31.5% of GPs each month, respectively.

“While the survey demonstrates how far ahead we are in terms of digital engagement, we know our true impact is far higher still,” says Bryn McGeever, managing director of Australian Doctor Group, publisher of Australian Doctor and Medical Observer.

McGeever believes ADG’s true digital reach to be significantly higher, given that GPs were not asked about two other popular sites — the news-driven 6minutes and the dedicated education/clinical website How to Treat.

“In the last six months alone, we’ve seen a 10% increase in the number of GPs engaging with our digital network on a monthly basis,” he says.

The survey also notes a continuing decline in pharma sales rep visits to GPs, down by 31% since 2011.