General practitioners' use of evidence databases

Med J Aust. 1999 Jan 18;170(2):56-8.


Objective: To determine the awareness and use of the Cochrane Library and access to the Internet by general practitioners in New South Wales.

Design: Cross-sectional postal survey in September 1997.

Participants: 311 of 428 (73% response rate) randomly selected general practitioners in New South Wales.

Main outcome measures: Proportion of respondents with access to the Internet at home or at work; proportion of respondents aware of, with access to, and ever using the Cochrane Library; independent predictors of awareness of the Cochrane Library.

Results: 134 respondents (43%) had access to the Internet either at home or at work; 42 (14%) were "on line" at their workplace. Seventy (22%) were aware of the Cochrane Library, although only 20 (6%) had access to it and 13 (4%) had ever used it. Those in group practice and members of Divisions were independently more likely to be aware of the Cochrane Library.

Conclusions: As patient outcomes will improve with systematic implementation of evidence-based treatments, these low rates of access to useful evidence databases raise issues regarding the best ways to support general practitioners with information technology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Databases as Topic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data
  • Libraries, Medical / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New South Wales
  • Physicians, Family / education
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires