Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Information Needs of the Allopathic Medical Practitioners in Tamilnadu, India: An Analysis

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Information Needs of the Allopathic Medical Practitioners in Tamilnadu, India: An Analysis

Article excerpt


In recent decades, scientific knowledge has changed dramatically, once-settled scientific principles have been replaced by more sophisticated concepts, entirely new disciplines and also parallel changes have occurred in medical education, practice and health care delivery system (Jules, 2008). By the nature medical professionals render their services to the suffering humanity. They serve the society reasonably well that the profession is rightly called 'Noble Profession'. They are motivated by humanitarian consideration with a strong desire to help others and relieve their suffering (Fimate, 2008)

The medical practitioners cannot practice with only high quality of medical education in medical colleges and without constantly updating their clinical skills. They encounter more than 500 clinical topics every year, so the information need is much broader than that of other specialities, which may in turn lead to specific problems for which these clinicians are searching many resources for answers (Gonzalez et al, 2007). Critical skill for physicians is the timely access to that wide variety of clinical information sources that contribute to the decisions in patient care. Specific questions about patient management arise in daily practice with drug prescribing-questions, being the most common type of questions (Ely et al, 1999).

Practicing physicians seek the information for the following reasons

* to study the clinical care of individuals;

* to obtain answers for patient-specific questions ;

* to acquire pharmacological information;

* to study the newer developments in clinical medicine;

* to fill specific gaps in knowledge on "new" diagnostics and therapies; and

* to satisfy curiosity, personal interest and inclination.

The exponential growth of medical literature, volume of unpursued clinical questions and increasing time constraints faced by the clinicians provide a disconcerting picture of knowledgerelated issues in the current clinical practice (Rebella, 2001).

Review of Literature

Information needs depending upon the nature of information and types of users. Users characteristics are based on necessity, educational qualification, relevancy, gender, experience etc. The following reviews are focusing the medical practitioners/ medical scientists information needs

Premsmit, (1990) carried out a study on the developing country academic medical scientist information needs. The results indicated that the scientists have three types of Information needs: identifying up-to-date information, obtaining relevant studies and data, and developing research in medical and allied health topics. Cheng and Lam (1996) conducted a study on the Hong Kong teaching hospital medical practitioners' information seeking behaviour. Teaching hospital practitioners' information needs are keeping oneself up-to-date, writing papers, preparing for course works, lectures, talks, undertaking researches and solving the clinical problems are the main reasons for seeking information.

Jerome et al, (2001) has reported the information needs of the teams of the medical practitioners in the university medical centre. Information Consultant Service (CIS) librarians received many clinical questions from various units of the Eskind Biomedical Library at Vanderbilt University medical center. Among the unique queries, the top two categories accounted for 67% of treatment and 31% of disease description. The result revealed that the practicing physician needs the following types of medical information: diagnosis/etiology, diagnostic procedures, disease complications, disease prognosis, patient information / education, treatment, drugs adverse effect, and treatment efficacy for their evidence purpose.

Nigerian metropolis doctors' information needs are specific and enhance their clinical knowledge on a day-to-day basis (Ocheibi, and Babu, 2003). Iranian University of medical sciences specialists, residents and interns' information needs and seeking behaviour vary significantly based on their educational qualification (Bigdeli, 2004). …

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