Regional and rural allied health professionals in Australia need better information services training and support for evidence-based practice

Jacqueline Linesch, Kylie Murphy, Tracey Parnell, Adele Miles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Evidence-based practice requires health professionals to
recognise situations of uncertainty in their practice, translate that
uncertainty into answerable questions, and find and appraise information
relevant to those questions. No research to date has explored the
research-based information needs of allied health professionals (AHPs) in
regional and rural Australia.
Objective: To examine the information-seeking experiences and needs of
AHPs in regional and rural Australia.
Methods: A total of 80 AHPs, predominantly occupational therapists and
physiotherapists, practising in regional and rural areas of Australia
completed an online survey.
Results: Almost all respondents reported having questions requiring
research evidence, but most of their questions were worded nonspecifically. Respondents practising in rural areas had greater perceived
difficulty in obtaining relevant evidence than their regional counterparts.
Many respondents reported wanting additional support to find relevant
research evidence.
Discussion: The findings offer insights regarding information-seeking
challenges AHPs face and potential solutions, including improved training
and increased health librarian support. However, due to sampling
limitations, the results cannot be generalised to all allied health
professions.
Conclusion: AHPs may require more training and support to engage in
efficient and effective information-seeking behaviours. Health librarians
have a valuable role to play in providing this training and support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Information and Libraries Journal
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 03 Apr 2021

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