Information needs for general practitioners on type 2 diabetes in Western countries. A systematic review

Br J Gen Pract. 2024 Mar 1:BJGP.2023.0531. doi: 10.3399/BJGP.2023.0531. Online ahead of print.


Background: Most people with type 2 diabetes receive treatment in primary care by general practitioners who are not specialised in diabetes. Thus, it is important to uncover the most essential information needs regarding type 2 diabetes in general practice.

Aim: To identify information needs related to type 2 diabetes for general practitioners.

Design and setting: A systematic review focused on literature relating to Western countries.

Method: We searched the databases MEDLINE, Embase, PsycInfo and CINAHL from inception to January 2024. Two researchers conducted the selection process, and citation searches were performed to identify any relevant articles missed by the database search. Quality appraisal was conducted with the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Meaning units were coded individually, grouped into categories, and then studies were summarized within the context of these categories using narrative synthesis. An evidence map was created to highlight research gaps.

Results: Thirty-nine included studies revealed eight main categories and 37 subcategories of information needs. Categories were organised into a comprehensive hierarchical model of information needs, suggesting that 'Knowledge of guidelines' and 'Reasons for referral' encompass more specific information needs. The evidence map shows geographical distribution of categories and knowledge gaps in qualitative research on management and risk factors.

Conclusion: This systematic review provides GPs, policy makers, and researchers with a hierarchical model of information and educational needs for GPs, and an evidence map showing gaps in the current literature. Information needs about clinical guidelines and reasons for referral to specialised care overlapped with needs for more specific information.

Keywords: General practitioner; Information needs; Systematic reviews < Research methods.