Background: Hospital clinicians are increasingly expected to practice evidence-based medicine (EBM) in order to minimize medical errors and ensure quality patient care, but experience obstacles to information-seeking. The introduction of a Clinical Informationist (CI) is explored as a possible solution.
Aims: This paper investigates the self-perceived information needs, behaviour and skill levels of clinicians in two Irish public hospitals. It also explores clinicians’ perceptions and attitudes to the introduction of a CI into their clinical teams.
Methods: A questionnaire survey approach was utilised for this study, with 22 clinicians in two hospitals. Data analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics.
Results: Analysis showed that clinicians experience diverse information needs for patient care, and that barriers such as time constraints and insufficient access to resources hinder their information-seeking. Findings also showed that clinicians struggle to fit information-seeking into their working day, regularly seeking to answer patient-related queries outside of working hours. Attitudes towards the concept of a CI were predominantly positive.
Conclusion: This paper highlights the factors that characterise and limit hospital clinicians’ information-seeking, and suggests the CI as a potentially useful addition to the clinical team, to help them to resolve their information needs for patient care.