Characteristics of information resources preferred by primary care physicians.


Primary care physicians use patient data, medical knowledge, logistic information, and population statistics. They rely on their personal knowledge to care for their patients, their top priority. When they seek information beyond this personal knowledge base, they frequently want information in the context of the care of a specific patient. They also continually add to their personal knowledge base. Less frequently, they seek logistic information and population statistics. For patient-specific questions, physicians most often seek medical facts or medical opinions. A physician may be persistent in seeking information if the patient's problem is perceived to be urgent and the doctor believes a definitive answer exists. Information resources for answering clinical questions should be readily available, familiar, and quick to use. Lifelong learning activities should also be readily available, and they should require a minimum of time, effort, and expense. Minimal cost in time and effort is particularly important when knowledge is sought as a part of ongoing medical learning, since there is less immediate benefit to balance the time and effort invested in information seeking.

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