January 1, 2004 | Journal Article
While use of computer resources at the point of care has a positive effect on physician decision making, pediatricians' information-seeking behaviors are not well characterized. The goal of this study was to characterize quantitatively the information-seeking behaviors of general pediatricians and specifically compare their use of computers including digital libraries, before and after an educational intervention. General pediatric residents and faculty at a U.S. midwestern children's hospital participated in a control versus intervention group design. The intervention group received a 10-minute individual training session and a handout on how to use a pediatric digital library. Both groups were telephoned later for interviews and asked, "What pediatric question(s) did you have that you needed additional information to answer?" The data indicates that pediatricians were slightly less likely to pursue answers after the intervention with the primary reason cited for both groups as a lack of time. While pediatricians in each group were about equally successful in finding answers, the intervention group spent on average less than half the time searching for answers. The authors conclude that pediatricians who seek answers at the point of care should begin to shift their information-seeking behaviors towards computer-based resources, as they are less time consuming and equally effective. Toll-free access made available with permission.