Physicians’ use of medical knowledge resources: Preliminary theoretical framework and findings

Shawn P. Curley, Donald P. Connelly, Eugene C. Rich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


The recurring decision of selecting among potential knowledge resources was modeled as a cost-benefit tradeoff, with associated observable features. Internal medicine and com munity family practice physicians (n = 228) completed a self-administered questionnaire designed to elicit reported use and cost-benefit features of nine knowledge resources. The subjects reported most frequent use of clinical colleagues, intermediate use of textbooks and journals, and least use of indexing systems. Resources’ benefit-related qualities (ex tensiveness and credibility) were not related to reported use. In contrast, the model’s access cost variables (availability, searchability, understandability, and clinical applicability) were significantly related to use. Results were generally favorable to the model’s framework of knowledge resource selection. Multiple linear regression analysis suggested that physicians’ use of clinical knowledge resources could be described by the physician’s level of training, availability, applicability, and the resource medium (colleague, index, or text/journal).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-241
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Decision Making
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1990

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Key words: choice behavior
  • information needs. (Med Decis Making 1990;10:231-241)
  • judgment
  • medical knowledge
  • psychological models


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