Objectives: What role does the MEDLINE database play in relation to other information resources that are available to health care providers? What is the role of MEDLINE in positively impacting patient care? Since health care providers use multiple information resources in providing patient care, what is the specific role of MEDLINE?
Methods: A previous survey on the use of health information resources for patient care obtained 16,122 responses from 56 hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. The study asked respondents to indicate resources used in answering specific clinical questions. On average, respondents reported using 3.5 resources to answer their question. This analysis used advanced descriptive statistics and regression analysis to examine the specific information resources used and how they were used in combination with one another. The use of more resources was associated with more changes made to patient care and increased avoidance of adverse events. MEDLINE was more likely to be among the resources consulted than any other information resource except journals. The analysis reported in this paper provides new insights into how MEDLINE is used in conjunction with other resources to answer clinical questions.
Results: Our additional analysis of the Value Study data found that MEDLINE and online journals were the two most frequently used information resources. Respondents reported using an average of 3.5 resources when seeking additional information related to a specific patient care decision making situation. Using more information resources was associated with improved clinical decision making and a higher probability of making changes to patient care and avoiding adverse events. MEDLINE was most likely to be among the combinations of information resources used by physicians, residents and nurses.
Conclusion: MEDLINE continues to be a key information resource for health care providers as they seek answers to patient care questions. The MEDLINE database is also used in the preparation of many other specialized health information resources and point of care information tools. Since health professionals use multiple information resources, libraries and librarians continue to have an important role in providing access to and supporting the use of a wide range of information tools.
Keywords: MEDLINE, PUBMED, libraries, surveys, data analysis, patient care, critical incident technique, physicians, residents, nurses.
School of Information and Library Science
Chapel Hill, NC
Joanne Gard Marshall, MLS, MhSc, PhD is a Distinguished Research Professor at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her major research interest is in studying the value and impact of health library and information services. She was principal of the original Rochester study on the value of hospital libraries published in 1992 and the multi-site study on the value of health library and information services in patient care published in JMLA in 2013, Full details on the Value Study may be found at https://nnlm.gov/mar/guides/valuestudy
Dept of Sociology
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Associate Fellowship Program Director
National Library of Medicine
Monday, May 29
1:00 PM – 2:25 PM
Associate Director for Library Operations
National Library of Medicine
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