Community Doctors Brush up on Medical Evidence on the Internet

Primary care physicians gathered in St. Albans, Barre, and St. Johnsbury to attend late afternoon classes on finding evidence-based information using the Internet and the resources of Dana Medical library. The classes, named “Timely Access to Evidence-Based Information for Patient Care,” were approximately an hour long and conferred one Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit.

Librarian and outreach educator Bob Sekerak, MLS, conducted the classes in cooperation with the UVM College of Medicine Office of Primary Care and the Northeastern and Champlain Valley Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) to reach community physicians who teach medical students (preceptors). Attendees learned how to answer patient care questions as they arise in clinical practice on a daily basis. The instructor showed how searches using free Internet search engines such as PubMed, TRIP and Google can be combined with Dana Library licensed databases such as DynaMed to identify quality medical information from the literature. He also demonstrated how to distinguish the level of medical evidence and assess the quality of scientific information. Locating the full text of electronic medical journal articles was also covered. The focus was on information resources that preceptors can use where they practice and teach without being on the UVM/FAHC campus.

Responses to the classes to date have proved positive.  One student participant, a clinical faculty member, remarked,  “[there’s a] huge variety of information available via Dana….”  Another commented,“[Today’s session showed how to] access all the information I need to practice evidence based medicine.” Only one preceptor attending the classes previously knew about access to Dana’s resources and services, although he did not know their breadth and depth.

Additional classes were given at the Thomas Chittenden Health Center, Williston, and the Plainfield Health Center. Additional classes are planned at Grace Cottage Hospital, Townshend; the Porter Medical Center, Middlebury; and at the Dana Medical Library on 3/16 and 4/13 from 5 – 6 pm.

Funding for this statewide education series was received from National Institutes of Health contract with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine-New England Region. Additional support was provided through the UVM AHEC/Office of Primary Care SEARCH program funded by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

For information about additional time and locations for the “Timely Access to Evidence-based Information” class series or to register, contact: Bob Sekerak, MLS, Outreach Education Coordinator, at 802-656-8471 or rsekerak@uvm.edu.