Clinical Support

Lightning Talk: Research Abstract

How Medical Students Discover Information Tools

Monday, May 6
5:05 PM - 5:10 PM
Room: Columbus KL (East Tower, Ballroom/Gold Level)

Many studies discuss the use of medical information tools by clinical medical students (i.e. third-and-fourth year students). Few studies examine how preclinical students (i.e. first-and-second year students) discover and use medical information tools. By understanding the needs of preclinical medical students, medical librarians can adjust the content and delivery of information in their training sessions. The purpose of this study is to better understand the medical information needs of preclinical students.

Medical students received and email containing the study description, link to an online survey, and an opportunity to answer additional questions about medical information tools. Discussion participants got an Amazon or Starbucks gift card. Survey participants received no compensation.

Of the 525 students who received an invitation to participate, 122 completed the survey and 18 participated in a discussion. Preclinical students primarily use UptoDate and Epocrates. By contrast, Clinical students use Google, Google Scholar, and UptoDate. During the discussion sessions, most students mention UptoDate first but mention using other medical information tools. Out of 18 students, two students or 11% consulted UptoDate exclusively in a clinical setting.

Students primarily discover medical information tools through conversations, during classes, or one-on-one sessions with faculty and health science librarians. Study results show even a short session with a librarian improves preclinical students’ knowledge of available tools and services. Librarians, who adapt sessions and conversations with preclinical students, can impact how students use medical information tools for the remainder of medical school.

Keywords: Medical Information Tools, Medical Students, Information Discovery, and Information Use

Margaret A. Hoogland, AHIP

Clinical Medical Librarian
Mulford Health Sciences Library - The University of Toledo
Temperance, Michigan

Margaret A. Hoogland, MLS, AHIP, is the Clinical Medical Librarian at the Mulford Health Sciences Library at the Unviersity of Toledo. She conducts research on educational technology and searches for ways to use technology that will enhance the learning experience for faculty and students. She is also keen on promoting Community Wellness.


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How Medical Students Discover Information Tools

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