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Information needs of specialist healthcare professionals: a preliminary study based on the West of Scotland Colorectal Cancer Managed Clinical Network

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Abstract

Objectives:  Funded by Research in the Workplace Award (RIWA) 2001, the study investigated the information needs and use of NHS library services by members of the West of Scotland Colorectal Cancer Managed Clinical Network (MCN), a single subject, cross boundary, multi‐professional organization.

Method:  A postal questionnaire sent out in October 2002 was returned by 100 members and follow‐up interviews were held in March 2003 with 11 of the respondents. The questions related to access to resources, library services such as literature searches, current awareness and training. They also explored the use of electronic resources and the Internet.

Results:  Respondents were mainly hospital doctors and a few nurses from across five health boards. Most had access to a library, although not all made use of it, possibly an indication of the need for improved communications between librarians and health‐care staff. Generally, research and professional development were reported as reasons for needing cancer information, but on further investigation the motivation to conduct literature searches was more related to patient care. Examples included treatment of unusual cases, locating information for patients and identifying guidelines. There are indications of unmet needs for local contact information and evaluated patient information.

Conclusion:  Development of a cancer portal within the NHS Scotland e‐Library available from May 2004 based on the Managed Knowledge Network (MKN) concept is attempting to address many of the issues raised in the survey, including inequities of access to services and signposting to a variety of types of information.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Project Manager, Managed Knowledge Networks Project, NHS Scotland Library Services Development Co-ordinator, Knowledge Services Group, NHS Education for Scotland, Glasgow, UK

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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