GP trainees' in-consultation information seeking: Associations with human, paper and electronic sources

Magina, Parker, Morgan, Simon, Wearne, Susan, Tapley, Amanda, Henderson, Kim, Oldmeadow, Chris, Ball, Jean, Scott, John, Spike,, Neil, McArthur, Lawrie and Van Driel, Mieke (2015) GP trainees' in-consultation information seeking: Associations with human, paper and electronic sources. Family Practice, 32 5: 525-532. doi:10.1093/fampra/cmv047

Author Magina, Parker
Morgan, Simon
Wearne, Susan
Tapley, Amanda
Henderson, Kim
Oldmeadow, Chris
Ball, Jean
Scott, John
Spike,, Neil
McArthur, Lawrie
Van Driel, Mieke
Title GP trainees' in-consultation information seeking: Associations with human, paper and electronic sources
Journal name Family Practice   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1460-2229
Publication date 2015-01-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1093/fampra/cmv047
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 32
Issue 5
Start page 525
End page 532
Total pages 8
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Oxford University Press
Formatted abstract
Background. Answering clinical questions arising from patient care can improve that care and offers an opportunity for adult learning. It is also a vital component in practising evidence-based medicine. GPs’ sources of in-consultation information can be human or non-human (either hard copy or electronic).

Objectives. To establish the prevalence and associations of GP trainees’ in-consultation information-seeking, and to establish the prevalence of use of different sources of information (human, hard copy and electronic) and the associations of choosing particular sources.

Methods. A cross-sectional analysis of data (2010–13) from an ongoing cohort study of Australian GP trainees’ consultations. Once each 6-month training term, trainees record detailed data of 60 consecutive consultations. The primary outcome was whether the trainee sought in-consultation information for a problem/diagnosis. Secondary outcomes were whether information-seeking was from a human (GP, other specialist or other health professional) or from a non-human source (electronic or hard copy), and whether a non-human source was electronic or hard copy.

Results. Six hundred forty-five trainees (response rate 94.3%) contributed data for 84 723 consultations including 131 583 problems/diagnoses. In-consultation information was sought for 15.4% (95% confidence interval = 15.3–15.6) of problems/diagnoses. Sources were: GP in 6.9% of problems/diagnoses, other specialists 0.9%, other health professionals 0.6%, electronic sources 6.5% and hard-copy sources 1.5%. Associations of information-seeking included younger patient age, trainee full-time status and earlier training stage, longer consultation duration, referring the patient, organizing follow-up and generating learning goals. Associations of choosing human information sources (over non-human sources) were similar, but also included the trainee’s training organization. Associations of electronic rather than hard-copy information-seeking included the trainee being younger, the training organization and information-seeking for management rather than diagnosis.

Conclusion. Trainee information-seeking is mainly from GP colleagues and electronic sources. Human information-sources are preferentially sought for more complex problems, even by these early-career GPs who have trained in the ‘internet era’.
Keyword Australia
Evidence-based medicine
Family practice
General practitioners
Information seeking behaviour
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Discipline of General Practice Publications
Official 2016 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 5 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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