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Keywords:

  • access to information;
  • education and training;
  • evaluation;
  • evidence-based medicine (EBM);
  • health information needs;
  • qualitative research;
  • quantitative research;
  • United States of America (USA)

Abstract

Background

The East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine Library has participated for several years in projects to provide rural clinicians with health information resources.

Objectives

To determine whether a strategy of hand-held devices with a best-evidence point-of-care disease tool and a drug database paired with access to a medical library for full-text articles and training to use the tools would be an affordable way to meet the information needs of rural underserved clinicians.

Methods

This study is a mixed-methods methodology. The first project was evaluated using a randomised controlled trial (RCT) methodology. The second was evaluated qualitatively using interviews and focus groups.

Results

The quantitative findings discovered that clinicians equipped with a hand-held device with evidence-based software more frequently found answers to clinical questions, found answers more quickly, were more satisfied with information they found and use expensive resources such as continuing medical education, online databases and textbooks less than the group that did not have access to online technology. Qualitative results supported the quantitative findings.

Conclusion

Librarians can implement a three-pronged strategy of the secondary literature via a hand-held, the primary literature via Loansome Doc and quality training to meet basic information needs of rural clinicians.