Promoting clinically effective practice: general practitioners' awareness of sources of research evidence.
BACKGROUND: Practitioners are being encouraged to base their clinical practice on research evidence. In order to do this, they must be aware of and use the sources of evidence. METHODS: A questionnaire survey was undertaken to establish GPs' awareness of research evidence in their clinical practice and, in fundholding practices, its influence on purchasing plans. Questionnaires were sent to 360 lead fundholders in North Thames Region and 440 of a random sample of the remaining general practitioners in the region for comparison. RESULTS: Questionnaires were returned by 62% of lead fundholders and 63% of GPs in the random sample. There was limited use of the electronic sources of clinical effectiveness. There was greater reported awareness of published sources of research evidence and fundholding GPs were significantly more likely to have referred to publications summarizing research evidence. CONCLUSIONS: GPs seem to make more use of published clinical effectiveness sources than the electronic databases. Consequently, they need educational and technical support if they are to make full use of the available sources of research evidence available in other media.
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