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J Med Educ. 1981 Mar;56(3):174-80.

Informal advice- and information-seeking between physicians.


Presently little is known or understood regarding the informal advice- and information-seeking behavior which occurs between physicians. In this paper the authors present an assessment of the quantity, quality, and patterns of direct peer communication in a county's physician population. All physicians within a country were mailed a sociometric questionnaire comprised of two questions. The data from the questionnaire revealed that colleague interaction occurs on a regular and frequent basis and is of considerable value to the physician seeking advice and information. An analysis of the communication patterns distinguished six of the country's physicians as opinion leaders. These findings illustrate the strength of informal communication among physicians and their opinion leaders. This phenomenon may be a key element in facilitating the physician's translation of medical advances into improved patient care with the least delay possible.

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