Information needs and information-seeking behaviour analysis of primary care physicians and nurses: a literature review

Health Info Libr J. 2013 Sep;30(3):178-90. doi: 10.1111/hir.12036. Epub 2013 Jul 23.


Background: The increase in the adoption of electronic health records (EHR) has contributed to physicians and nurses experiencing information overload. To address the problem of information overload, an assessment of the information needs of physicians and nurses will assist in understanding what they view as useful information to make patient care more efficient.

Objective: To analyse studies that assessed the information needs and information-seeking behaviour of physicians and nurses in a primary care setting to develop a better understanding of what information to present to physicians when they making clinical decisions.

Method: A literature review of studies was conducted with a comprehensive search in PubMed, cinahl, scopus, as well as examination of references from relevant papers and hand-searched articles to identify articles applicable to this review.

Results: Of the papers reviewed the most common information needs found among physicians and nurses were related to diagnoses, drug(s) and treatment/therapy. Colleagues remain a preferred information source among physicians and nurses; however, a rise in Internet usage is apparent.

Conclusion: Physicians and nurses need access to the Internet and job-specific resources to find practitioner-oriented information. In addition, effective usage of resources is important for improving patient care.

Keywords: electronic health records; general practitioners (GPs); information-seeking behaviour; literature; nurses; primary health care; review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical
  • Electronic Health Records
  • Humans
  • Information Seeking Behavior*
  • Physicians, Primary Care*
  • Primary Care Nursing*