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Health Info Libr J. 2011 Mar;28(1):23-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-1842.2010.00917.x. Epub 2010 Oct 13.

Hospital clinicians' information behaviour and attitudes towards the 'Clinical Informationist': an Irish survey.

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Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Department of Medicine, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.



  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.


  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.


  A questionnaire survey approach was utilised for this study, with 22 clinicians in two hospitals. Data analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics.


  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.


  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.

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