How do clinicians search for and access biomedical literature to answer clinical questions?

Annie Y S Lau*, Enrico Coiera

*Corresponding author for this work

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

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a retrospective data analysis on how 75 clinicians searched for and accessed biomedical literature from an online information retrieval system to answer six clinical scenarios. Using likelihood ratio measures to quantify the impact of documents on a decision, and a graphical representation to model clinicians' journeys of accessing documents, this analysis reveals that clinicians did not necessarily arrive at the same answer after having accessed the same document, and that documents did not influence clinicians in the same manner. A possible explanation for these phenomena is that people experience cognitive biases during information searching which influence their decision outcome. This analysis raises the hypotheses that people experience the anchoring effect, order effects, exposure effect and reinforcement effect while searching for information and that these biases may subsequently influence the way decisions are made.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMEDINFO 2007
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 12th World Congress on Health (Medical) Informatics: Building Sustainable Health Systems
EditorsKlaus A. Kuhn, James R. Warren, Tze-Yun Leong
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9781586037741
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Event12th World Congress on Medical Informatics, MEDINFO 2007 - Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Duration: 20 Aug 200724 Aug 2007

Publication series

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


Other12th World Congress on Medical Informatics, MEDINFO 2007
CityBrisbane, QLD


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