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What Did They Do Before It Was Online? Measuring Information Seeking Behavior of Clinicians Prior to Initiation of Access to Electronic Resources Barbara A. Epstein, MSLS, AHIP Nancy H. Tannery, MLS Charles B. Wessel, MLS Health Sciences Library System Cynthia S. Gadd, PhD

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What Did They Do Before It Was Online? Measuring Information Seeking Behavior of Clinicians Prior to Initiation of Access to Electronic Resources

Barbara A. Epstein, MSLS, AHIP

Nancy H. Tannery, MLS

Charles B. Wessel, MLS

Health Sciences Library System

Cynthia S. Gadd, PhD

Center for Biomedical Informatics

University of Pittsburgh


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Study Design Information Seeking Behavior of Clinicians Prior to Initiation of Access to Electronic Resources

  • Longitudinal study of the impact of access to comprehensive electronic information in a rural hospital setting

  • Survey to capture baseline data before introduction of electronic information resources

  • Track “information interventions”: training, marketing, issuance of passwords, CME & other projects

  • Re-survey periodically to discover changes in information seeking behavior

Health Sciences Library System University of Pittsburgh


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Health Sciences Library System (HSLS) Information Seeking Behavior of Clinicians Prior to Initiation of Access to Electronic Resources

  • Large academic library serving university’s six health sciences schools, as well as 17 hospitals of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) located throughout Western Pennsylvania

  • UPMC hospitals contract with HSLS for access to licensed electronic resources (HSL Online)

Health Sciences Library System University of Pittsburgh


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2500+ Full-text Electronic Journals Information Seeking Behavior of Clinicians Prior to Initiation of Access to Electronic Resources

400+ Electronic Textbooks

Micromedex, StatRef, MDConsult, Embase.com Access Medicine, UpToDate, Science Direct, BioMedCentral

Ovid Medline, PsycINFO, CINAHL, HealthSTAR, AMED, EBM Reviews, CancerLit

WebMD/Scientific American Medicine, Health & Wellness Center

And more….

HSL Online

Health Sciences Library System University of Pittsburgh


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UPMC Horizon Information Seeking Behavior of Clinicians Prior to Initiation of Access to Electronic Resources

  • 374 beds on 2 campuses (Greenville, PA & Farrell, PA) – rural area north of Pittsburgh

  • Founded in 1906; merged with UPMC in 1998

  • Clinical strengths in primary care and emergency medicine, cardiology, oncology, ophthalmology, sleep disorders, orthopedics, maternity, rehabilitation, arthritis, chemical dependency

  • 3 Residency programs in General Surgery, Internal Medicine and Family Practice

  • No librarian or organized library!

Health Sciences Library System University of Pittsburgh


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Timeline Information Seeking Behavior of Clinicians Prior to Initiation of Access to Electronic Resources

  • July 2001

    • UPMC Horizon initiates contract with HSLS for access to HSL Online

  • Fall 2001

    • Introduction of HSL Online at UPMC Horizon

      • Training sessions & orientations

      • Marketing through newsletter articles & personal letters

    • Project team develops study design and baseline survey

    • Limited pre-test of survey questions

    • IRB approval obtained

Health Sciences Library System University of Pittsburgh


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Baseline Survey Information Seeking Behavior of Clinicians Prior to Initiation of Access to Electronic Resources

  • Demographics: age, gender, role/specialty

  • Frequency of computer use

    • To document or access clinical data

    • To communicate with colleagues

    • To search or read knowledge-based information

    • To access CME

    • To teach students or residents

    • To prepare presentations

Health Sciences Library System University of Pittsburgh


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Baseline Survey (continued) Information Seeking Behavior of Clinicians Prior to Initiation of Access to Electronic Resources

  • Frequency of Internet use at home or in office

  • Use of HSL Online

  • In the last month, how was clinical info obtained?

    • Colleagues, library, books, journals, drug brochures, etc.

Health Sciences Library System University of Pittsburgh


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Survey Distribution Information Seeking Behavior of Clinicians Prior to Initiation of Access to Electronic Resources

  • January 2002: baseline questionnaire sent to 864 physicians, residents, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and other clinicians

  • Reminders sent in Feb/March 2002

  • 407 surveys returned – 47% response rate

  • Largest respondent groups were physicians (70) and nurses (212)

Health Sciences Library System University of Pittsburgh


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Computer Use & Internet Access Information Seeking Behavior of Clinicians Prior to Initiation of Access to Electronic Resources

  • 55% of both physicians and nurses reported using a computer 6 or more hours each week

  • 83% of physicians and 77% of nurses used the Internet

  • Of those accessing the Internet, more than 80% report frequency of at least 3 times weekly

  • 72% of physicians and 49% of nurses use the Internet for professional tasks

Health Sciences Library System University of Pittsburgh


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Early Use of HSL Online Information Seeking Behavior of Clinicians Prior to Initiation of Access to Electronic Resources

  • 19 physicians (27%) reported use of HSL Online

  • 17 nurses (8%) reported use of HSL Online

    • 2 physicians and 1 nurse (“early adapters”?) using HSL Online daily

  • 100% of 6 pharmacists responding used HSL Online, specifically Micromedex

Health Sciences Library System University of Pittsburgh


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Where Do Physicians Find Information at Least Once/Week? Information Seeking Behavior of Clinicians Prior to Initiation of Access to Electronic Resources

  • Printed books/journals: 53%

  • Colleagues: 40%

  • Electronic discussion lists/email: 23%

  • Drug/Equipment brochure: 21%

  • Ovid Medline/PubMed: 16%

  • Pocket handbook: 11%

  • Course/Conference: 7%

Health Sciences Library System University of Pittsburgh


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Where Do Nurses Find Clinical Information at Least Once/Week?

  • Colleagues: 36%

  • Printed books/journals: 17%

  • Electronic discussion lists/email: 13%

  • Drug/Equipment brochure: 11%

  • Pocket handbook: 8%

  • Course/Conference: 1%

  • Ovid Medline/PubMed: 0.4% (1 person)

Health Sciences Library System University of Pittsburgh


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Comparative Snapshot Once/Week?

  • Internet use is for professional tasks is higher among physicians than nurses

  • Physicians and nurses, without access to electronic resources, use colleagues, print textbooks and journals to satisfy information needs

Health Sciences Library System University of Pittsburgh


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Next Steps Once/Week?

  • Extensive training sessions, marketing, publicity about HSL Online

  • Planned online physician CME project using full-text electronic journal articles

  • Follow-up survey sent in January 2003 to measure penetration of HSL Online use, and impact on clinical information-seeking behavior; data being analyzed

Health Sciences Library System University of Pittsburgh