Investigating information-seeking behaviors of primary care physicians who care for older depressed patients and their family caregivers: a pilot study

Mary Jo Dorsey, Ellen Detlefsen


Objective To describe preliminary findings from a study of information-seeking behaviors of primary care physicians who care for elderly and depressed patients, and the correlation between what is sought versus what is provided to the patient and (or) caregiver. Setting Physicians in two large ambulatory primary care practices throughout urban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who take care of geriatric patients. Methods Structured interviews, with common questions, will be conducted with 12 primary care physicians to determine patterns of information-seeking behaviors. Environmental scans of physicians' offices for evidence of their existing information behaviors will complement the information obtained from the interviews. Results This pilot study provides an analysis of the resources primary care physicians use to seek information to provide to patients and caregivers. Analyses show types of information sought, time spent seeking information, and methods used to find information given to patients. Conclusions With mounting evidence of the Internet being used for patient self care, it is essential to understand if primary care physicians understand the scope and breadth of information readily available to their patients. The primary care physician needs to be aware of the types of information made available to their patients and the caregivers who are inclined to obtain information for the patient.

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