Medical research isn’t just about discovering new treatments. Research also makes it possible for physicians to use existing treatments in ways that best help their patients, and ultimately, deliver better health care. But do family physicians have the research skills and access to information that they need?
A 2008 survey of Canadian family physicians and their attitudes towards research skills revealed surprising results:
Fewer than half (45%) agreed that their training should include promoting an interest in research as a core goal.
Only one-third (34%) agreed that family medicine residencies should place greater emphasis on research skills.
When we asked family physicians about their research needs, we found that on average, they perform 25 searches for information daily. They’re looking for information about medications, treatment options, and clinical trials. But since the obvious starting point for research—the EMR—doesn’t always have the information physicians need, they often end up working outside it. Here are some common strategies physicians use to access information, and the challenges they present:
Medical databases: These are reliable, but due to the volume of information they hold, it can be hard for physicians to navigate the search results quickly. Some databases only provide abstracts, with external links to articles. Other databases require subscriptions for access to full-text results.
Internet searches: To find the right search terms, physicians often end up juggling multiple open tabs. Then, they must filter out the countless lifestyle websites and blog posts before they can access helpful journal articles with reliable information.
Expert assistance: CMA members can receive assistance from experienced medical librarians, who can conduct literature searches, provide training on how to use the CMA’s clinical resources, and help medical professionals develop strategies to perform their own searches more effectively. These valuable services require time, however: urgent requests are answered within three business days, while routine requests are answered within two weeks.
Tali’s Medical Search feature gives physicians easy access to trusted medical databases. Accessed through a widget interface without leaving the EMR, Tali sits right at the point of care. It highlights the data physicians need to know in a concise format. It also includes a link to the source file, making it easy to go deeper and find more detailed information.
Tali draws on reliable and evidence-based resources, such as Merck Manuals, that physicians know and trust. Bringing quality information like this at the physician's fingertips while still on the EMR will significantly reduce the time it takes for physicians to find the insights and data they need. To further increase the functionality of the Medical Search feature, Tali also returns Drug and Dosage information.
We understand how important it is for physicians to do research, and we’re developing features that make it easier for physicians to find the information that lets them deliver better patient care. Want to see Tali in action? Download Tali today or contact us directly for more information.