Objective: To describe the obstacles encountered when attempting to answer doctors' questions with evidence. Design: Qualitative study. Setting: General practices in Iowa. Participants: 9 academic generalist doctors, 14 family doctors, and 2 medical librarians. Main outcome measure: A taxonomy of obstacles encountered while searching for evidence based answers to doctors' questions. Results: 59 obstacles were encountered and organised according to the five steps in asking and answering questions: recognise a gap in knowledge, formulate a question, search for relevant information, formulate an answer, and use the answer to direct patient care. Six obstacles were considered particularly salient by the investigators and practising doctors: the excessive time required to find information; difficulty modifying the original question, which was often vague and open to interpretation; difficulty selecting an optimal strategy to search for information; failure of a seemingly appropriate resource to cover the topic; uncertainty about how to know when all the relevant evidence has been found so that the search can stop; and inadequate synthesis of multiple bits of evidence into a clinically useful statement. Conclusions: Many obstacles are encountered when asking and answering questions about how to care for patients. Addressing these obstacles could lead to better patient care by improving clinically oriented information resources.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||British Medical Journal|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 23 2002|
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