Answering physicians' clinical questions: obstacles and potential solutions.

Ely JW, Osheroff JA, Chambliss ML, Ebell MH, Rosenbaum ME. Answering physicians' clinical questions: obstacles and potential solutions. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2005 Mar-Apr;12(2):217-24.

A study of generalist physicians in Iowa investigated the obstacles preventing physicians from answering their patient care questions. Physicians asked 5.5 questions per half-day but pursued answers to just 55% of them. Of the 55% of questions pursued, UpToDate was used the most (41%) out of over 10 information resources consulted during the study. Other resources on the list included Epocrates (25%), MICROMEDEX (15%), and the Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy (14%).

  • The typical primary care physician has approximately 11 questions a day. While they pursue answers to 55% of questions, only 40% get answered.
  • Answering all questions would change up to 5 management decisions per day.
  • The most common reason for not pursuing an answer was that they doubted that an answer existed.