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Free Content Health information support provided by professional associations in Canada

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Abstract
Background

Healthcare practitioners in Alberta and across Canada have varying levels of access to information resources depending on their institutional and professional affiliations, yet access to current health information is critical for all.
Objectives

To determine what information resources and services are provided by Albertan and Canadian professional health associations to their members.
Methods

Representatives of professional colleges and associations were interviewed regarding information resources and services offered to members and perceptions of their members' information needs.
Results

National‐level associations are more likely to provide resources than provincial ones. There is a clear distinction between colleges and associations in terms of information offered: colleges provide regulatory information, while associations are responsible for provision of clinical information resources. Only half of the associations interviewed provide members with access to licensed databases, with cost being a major barrier.
Conclusions

There is considerable variation in the number of electronic resources and the levels of information support provided by professional health associations in Alberta and Canada. Access and usage vary among the health professions. National licensing of resources or creation of a portal linking to freely available alternatives are potential options for increasing access and awareness.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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