Utilization of online database for medical information: a nationwide survey of physicians at regional hospitals in Taiwan

Tags: Poster
Kuo K, Chiu Y, Lo H, Shih Y, Ting H, Weng Y

Background: In Taiwan, physicians at regional hospitals deal with broader

medical problems in clinical services. To obtain maximum resources

available, accessing medical information or databases via the internet has

become a critical skill for improving healthcare quality. Objectives: To

identify medical information searching patterns, behavior and characteristics

of physicians in using online databases. Methods: A structured

questionnaire survey was conducted at 61 regional hospitals in 2007. We

collected 591 returns from physicians. With invalid answers excluded, 457

returns were analyzed. Multivariate logistic regression model was used to

determine the subjects’ characteristics associated with the preferences of

online databases. Results: More than 70% of physicians reported using

portal websites, online databases, and electronic journals for searching

medical information. However, for the textbooks, they used printed

publications more than electronic ones (66.15% vs. 46.24%). More than

90% of the hospitals provided original article online databases, such as

MEDLINE, PubMed and ProQuest. Up to 95% of the physicians utilized

these databases during the past six months. Only 51.20% used The

Cochrane Library. Physicians under 49 years tended to use online

databases more than their older colleagues (p < 0.05). Physicians with

faculty positions used online databases more frequently (OR = 2.51,

p < 0.05). Physicians with knowledge of The Cochrane Library being

available in their hospital showed a higher tendency in online database

utilization than others (po0.05). Physicians who used MEDLINE

(OR = 4.17, p < 0.05) or PubMed (OR = 3.86, p < 0.05) more than nine

times per month during the past six months also used other online

databases more. Conclusions: This survey illustrates the informationsearching

behavior amongst physicians at regional hospitals in Taiwan, and

their preferences of online databases. The data shows that almost all

physicians had access to the original article via online databases. Faculty

position and younger age were more significant in frequent use. However,

practice experience, administrative position, gender, education and

professional specialty carried no significant difference. Physicians who

knew The Cochrane Library or were frequent user of MEDLINE/PubMed

had higher usage of online database.