Innovation & Research Practice

Paper: Research Abstract

Connecting with Rural Health Care Providers: What Information Do They Need and How Do They Search for It? Results of a Mixed Methods, Multiphase Assessment Project

Monday, May 6
2:35 PM - 2:50 PM
Room: Columbus AB (East Tower, Ballroom/Gold Level)

Objectives : Outreach librarians at a small academic health sciences library conducted a mixed methods, multiphase information needs assessment of unaffiliated healthcare providers within a predominantly rural state. The assessment’s purpose was to determine the information-seeking behaviors, unmet information needs, and training preferences of the target population to inform future outreach planning.
Methods : Outreach librarians conducted a preliminary literature review that found recent, relevant studies describing the health information needs of unaffiliated rural healthcare providers were lacking. Librarians then designed a descriptive survey to assess information-seeking behaviors and unmet information needs of the target population. State healthcare organizations were recruited to encourage their members to complete the survey. In Phase II, librarians interviewed Phase I volunteers and other health professionals individually to collect additional and more in-depth data, including training preferences. Unmet information needs identified in Phases I and II were mapped to freely accessible online information tools in anticipation of future trainings. Librarians used qualitative data analysis software to glean additional insight into unmet information needs of the target population during Phase III of this project. All research activities were approved by the university’s Institutional Review Board.
Results : A total of 282 health professionals working in a variety of roles and settings responded to the Phase I survey distributed in 2017. Respondents reported seeking patient care/management information most often with various resources consulted, free online resources and journals being considered most useful. In Phase II, four librarians interviewed a total of 21 individuals to further explore information-seeking behavior, perceived barriers, and utilization of information resources. Phase II and III qualitative data analysis indicated interviewees primarily rely upon online information resources and colleagues; the most frequently discussed barriers to information-seeking were time and money.
Conclusions : Many unaffiliated health professionals have unmet information needs and are unaware freely available, quality information resources are available to meet some of those needs. These professionals also want access to subscription-based information products and are unfamiliar with product licensing and budget restrictions libraries face. Selected health professionals recognize the value of library resources and librarians’ expertise in efficiently locating relevant information to meet their needs. With the wealth of online resources available, some believe currently available information is sufficient to meet their information needs.

Marcia Francis, AHIP

Southwest Clinical Campus Librarian
University of North Dakota
Bismarck, North Dakota

Marcia Francis, M.A., M.Ed., AHIP, is the Southwest Clinical Campus Librarian at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences and also serves as the Library Resource's outreach coordinator. She graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Library Science from the University of Arizona and a Master of Education degree from Idaho State University. Marcia has worked in academic, school, corporate, and medical libraries in North Dakota and Idaho. She has been a Distinguished Member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals since 2008.

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Michael Skinner

Northwest Clinical Campus Librarian
University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Library Resources
Minot, North Dakota

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Dawn E. Hackman, AHIP

Medical School Liaison
University of Minnesota Bio-Medical Library
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dawn Hackman (MS, AHIP) is an Assistant Librarian at the University of Minnesota Bio-Medical Library, where she is one of three liaisons to the Medical School. Prior to that, she served as a Research & Education Librarian and liaison to the Medical Education and Physician Assistant Studies programs at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND. She holds a B.A. in German Studies from the University of California - Los Angeles and a M.S. in Archives Management from Simmons College in Boston, MA. Dawn is a member of the Medical Library Association (for which she is currently the chair of the Public Services Section), Midwest Chapter/MLA, the Libraries in Medical Education special interest group of the AAMC Central Group on Educational Affairs, and has been a Senior Member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals since 2015.

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Erika M. Johnson

Clinical Campus Librarian
University of North Dakota
Fargo, North Dakota

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Kelly Thormodson

Director
University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, North Dakota

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