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

1 Citation (Scopus)

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 non-specifically. 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

Allied health professionals 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)281-294
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Information and Libraries Journal
Volume38
Issue number4
Early online date03 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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