Searching for medical information online: a survey of Canadian nephrologists.

Shariff SZ, Bejaimal SA, Sontrop JM, Iansavichus AV, Weir MA, Haynes RB, Speechley MR, Thind A, Garg AX. J Nephrol. 2011 Nov-Dec;24(6):723-32. doi: 10.5301/JN.2011.6373.

In this cross-sectional study (2008 to 2010), a random sample of Canadian nephrologists completed a survey of their online search practices. Respondents were queried on their searching preferences, practices, and use of 9 online information sources.

  • Nephrologists used a variety of online sources to retrieve information on patient treatment including UpToDate (92%), PubMed (89%), Google (76%) and Ovid MEDLINE (55%).
  • Community-based nephrologists were more likely to consult UpToDate first (91%), while academic nephrologists were divided between UpToDate (58%) and PubMed (41%).
  • When searching bibliographic resources such as PubMed, 80% of nephrologists scan a maximum of 40 citations (the equivalent of 2 search pages in PubMed). Searching practices did not differ by age, sex or years in practice.