In a recent issue of the Archives for Childhood Disease, there is a report, titled, "The information-seeking behaviour of paediatricins accessing web-based resources."
In this paper Prendiville, Saunders, and Fitzsimons asked practicing pediatricians how they found information in regards to questions from patients that they didn't know the answer to or about possible symptoms/diseases that they needed more information. They reported that "67% of paediatricians utilised the internet as their first "port of call" when looking to answer a medical question. 85% believe that web-based resources have improved medical practice, with 88% reporting web-based resources are essential for medical practice today. 93.5% of paediatricians believe attempting to answer clinical questions as they arise is an important component in practising evidence-based medicine. 54% of all paediatricians have recommended websites to parents or patients. 75.5% of paediatricians report finding it difficult to keep up-to-date with new information relevant to their practice."
So does the thought that your pediatrician is reading Wikipedia scary you? Should parents be concerned? Does this simply reflect the high-quality of information online? Are pediatricians skilled enough information seekers that they can separate trusted sources from quackery?
These findings should be a nudge to educational institutions, professional organizations and others that it is essential to be creating access to high-quality research findings on the web and to designing professional resources to help pediatricians and others find appropriate information. Too much research is still not accessible in general on the web-- this is a problem.
The article concludes with the following:
"Web-based paediatric resources are of increasing significance in day-to-day clinical practice. Many paediatricians now believe that the quality of patient care depends on it. Information technology resources play a key role in helping physicians to deliver, in a time-efficient manner, solutions to clinical queries at the point of care."