Clinicians' assessments of the usefulness of online evidence to answer clinical questions

Farah Magrabi*, Johanna I. Westbrook, Enrico W. Coiera, A. Sophie Gosling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Family physicians' experience of using an online evidence retrieval system in routine clinical work was measured. Participants' assessments regarding the usefulness of the online evidence to answer their clinical questions were determined using three feedback channels: voluntary online feedback during the trial; randomized prompted feedback during a specific online evidence search; and responses in a post-trial survey. Using an analysis of the web logs, search outcome was related to patterns of searching in terms of number of searches and documents viewed. The majority of clinicians' searches were related to patient care and information retrieved was rated as useful in answering these questions. On average clinicians conducted two searches and viewed one document per clinical question. Search sessions which resulted in "completely answering" a clinical question involved significantly fewer searches than less successful searches. The three feedback channels provided different information but consistent overall results. The findings indicate that clinicians' assessments of online evidence use are linked to search patterns and online feedback is useful for measuring the effectiveness of systems.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMEDINFO 2004
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 11th world congress on medical informatics
EditorsMarius Fieschi, Enrico Coiera, Yu-Chan Jack Li
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781607509493
ISBN (Print) 9781586034443
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
PublisherIOS Press
ISSN (Print)0926-9630
ISSN (Electronic)1879-8365


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