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Clinical information needs and access in primary health care: a comparative cross-sectional study of rural and non-rural primary care physicians



Clinical information needs and access in primary health care: a comparative cross-sectional study of rural and non-rural primary care physicians



Health Information and Libraries Journal 32(4): 287-299



Primary care physicians (PCPs) need a wide range of clinical information (CI) resources to manage their patients. Continued access to these resources in their practice settings provides self-reliance and a better approach towards clinical decision making. To compare the PCPs CI needs and access to CI in rural versus non-rural practice setting. A comparative cross-sectional survey was conducted in the Government health centres of the District of Multan, Pakistan. PCPs were classified into rural and non-rural according to their practice setting using the State Office of Rural Health definition. Rural means 'more than 10 miles from a population centre of 30 000 or more'. The CI needs of rural and non-rural PCPs were the same, but rural PCPs had significantly less access to nearly all CI resources when compared to non-rural PCPs. Age was a major determining factor of perceived information needs for continuing medical education but not for accessing CI. Primary care physicians in rural settings face innumerable difficulties in accessing the required CI due to non-existence of libraries and poor information infrastructure. Despite no difference in information needs, rural PCPs have significantly less access to CI resources. The study suggests ways to address the inequality in provision of CI resources.

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Accession: 057423431

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 26346044

DOI: 10.1111/hir.12121


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