Computerized Literature Searching in a Teaching Family Practice Center

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Computerized literature searching was introduced into a family practice residency office site after a series of training sessions. BRS Colleague was the searching program used. Over 15 months, 147 searches were conducted, primarily by faculty. Because residents used the system infrequently, they preferred to find a faculty member to help with the search rather than complete the search by themselves. The mean number of searches per faculty user was 6.4 and the median number of documents found per search was 15. The users were moderately satisfied with the search process (2.4 on a scale of 1 as excellent to 5 as unusable). Search strategies tended to be unsophisticated, often using only one of several possible related search terms. Most searches took a limited amount of time (5 to 20 minutes). The program was sufficiently successful to warrant continuation. Computerized literature searching offers a method to meet the physicians' needs for ready access to information on patient-related questions.

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