Connecting Rural Clinicians to Health Information

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Objective: To determine if a personal digital assistant (PDA) with drug and evidence-based disease information software programs and with librarian training and follow-up can adequately meet at low cost the information needs of clinicians in rural areas with low information availability.

Methods: A randomized clinical trial methodology was used. Eight hospitals were selected in rural Appalachia based on accepted definitions of rurality. The hospitals were randomized into two groups of four hospitals with forty PDA users in each group. Both groups were treated equally, except the information needs of one group were measured using a validated instrument before the intervention and in the other group several months later. The survey instrument measured factors such as level of satisfaction with information retrieved in the clinic, required time to find an answer, and frequency of answers found for clinical questions.


Washington, DC

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