Academic journal article Journal of the Medical Library Association

Increasing State Public Health Professionals' Proficiency in Using PubMed*

Academic journal article Journal of the Medical Library Association

Increasing State Public Health Professionals' Proficiency in Using PubMed*

Article excerpt

Objective: The paper provides an overview of a strategy to increase utilization of online bibliographic databases by public health workers.

Methods: A web-based survey of professional staff in the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services was conducted to assess their use of and interest in training in online bibliographic databases. Based on the findings from the assessment, the department, in collaboration with the state university, provided brief ninety-minute training sessions for interested staff on the use of PubMed.

Results: Seventy of 115 (61%) of staff completed the survey. Only 39% of staff reported using an online bibliographic database to conduct a literature search in the past year, and only 10% (n=7) reported having ever received any training in their use. Perceived proficiency with the use of PubMed was higher upon completion of the brief training. The majority of training participants (n=27) indicated that they were very likely to use PubMed in the next year to search the literature.

Conclusions: A collaboratively designed training can increase public health workers' proficiency in and intentions of using online bibliographic databases.

INTRODUCTION

Electronic information systems, such as the online bibliographie databases available through the National Library of Medicine and other components of the National Institutes of Health, are useful resources for public health professionals to find relevant data and information for public health practice. Public health professionals can utilize these resources to identify evidence-based strategies for specific topics, program planning and development, surveillance and evaluation, and current issues in the field of public health [I]. Use of these information resources has been recognized as an important component of public health infrastructure: the Healthy People 2010 plan for the United States includes an objective related to the use of electronic information systems for public health practice [2].

A survey of public health professionals conducted in 1997 in ten Midwestern states found, however, that less than one-fifth of respondents used electronic information systems such as MEDLINE and that twothirds of respondents were interested in receiving training [3]. A National Library of Medicine-funded assessment conducted among public health professionals in Tennessee in 1999 found low utilization of electronic information systems for public health practice [4]. To address these kinds of issues, among others, the National Library of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, and others formed the "Partners in Information Access for the Public Health Workforce" (Partners) [5-7]. The goal of this partnership was to provide training and support for state and local public health officials in the use of currently available information resources applicable to public health. Despite the successes of the Partners projects, a recent literature review found a continued need for coordinated and accessible information to meet the needs of the public health workforce [8].

Few recent assessments have been conducted to identify whether public health professionals have received training in the use of electronic information systems and whether public health professionals have increased use of these systems in their current practice [9, 10]. To assess the use of electronic information resources among Montana public health professionals, the Division of Public Health and Safety at the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and faculty from the Montana State University State Libraries and Department of Microbiology conducted a survey of public health program staff to evaluate their current utilization of electronic information systems, as well as interest in training. Based on survey results, brief training sessions with a goal of increasing the awareness and use of these resources among public health staff were held. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.