ABSTRACT: Salinas G. Trends in physician preferences for and use of sources of medical information in response to questions arising at the point of care: 2009-2013.
Recent information on the preferences and trends of medical information sources for US practicing physicians in the past several years is lacking. The purpose of this study was to identify current format preferences and attitudes of physicians as well as trends over time to provide timely information for use in educational planning.
A survey instrument was developed and distributed in 2013 to US practicing physicians in several specialties. Data were aggregated and analyzed to understand trends across these physicians. Differences between and among demographic subsets of physicians, such as practice type and location, were observed by the use of inferential statistics. Additionally, using a similar survey fielded in 2009, these findings were analyzed to observe potential changes in the past 4 years.
Peer-reviewed journal articles and continuing medical education (CME) are reported to be the most useful sources of medical information by physicians. Non-CME promotional meetings, pharmaceutical sales representatives, and managed care organizations are least useful or influential. Physicians are receiving more clinical questions from patient encounters in 2013 compared to 2009, and spend more time searching for information online. The use of many formats to receive medical information is increasing, including both technology-derived and traditional formats.
Increases in clinical questions and time spent online indicate a heightened need for efficiencies in searching for medical information. New uses of technology in medical information delivery may allow educators an avenue to meet the rising needs of physicians.