Information needs of physicians

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


Quantitative estimates of physician information need reported in the literature vary by orders of magnitude. This article offers a framework for explicitly defining the types of information that clinicians use and the various states of information need on which different studies have focused. Published reports seem to be in agreement that physicians have many clinical questions in the course of patient care, but most of their questions are never answered. Examination of the clinical questions themselves reveals that they tend to be highly complex, embedded in the context of a unique patient's story. The heavy reliance of physicians on human sources of information has implications for the nature of their information needs, including the narrative structure of their knowledge and the need for more than information alone when solving clinical problems. Evaluation of clinical information systems must move beyond measures of the relevance of retrieved information to assessing the extent to which information systems help practitioners solve the clinical problems they face in practice. © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-736
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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