The study aimed at establishing the informational challenges and needs of physicians and nurses at Presbyterian Hospital.

They used focused group discussions to flash out the necessary data needed to explain their findings. The study established numerous information needs that applied to both healthcare professionals. The study established three different categories of information needs. They included source format, source characteristics, and customized content (McKnight, Stetson, Bakken, Curran, & Cimino, 2002).

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Similar information needs of physicians and nurses at Presbyterian Hospital

Focused discussions established that both physicians and nurses experienced difficulties in identifying and coordinating with other providers of healthcare. Physicians and nurses showed that their frustrations in respect of this need arose from inefficient paging systems that were in place at the time of the study. Both groups expressed the need for efficient access to accurate and updated information. In addition, lack of system knowledge was a similar concern raised by physicians and nurses at the Presbyterian Hospital (McKnight et al.

, 2002). The results of the study indicate the need for improved access to inpatient and outpatient health and consultation reports, improved drug-drug, medication lists. The examination of the healthcare professionals showed that both mentioned the need for interaction alerts, and improved recording of order and health status of patients (McKnight et al., 2002).

Differences in information needs

Physicians expressed a different need for information availability from that of the nurses. The study suggests that physicians had the need for on-line or, hand-held devices to enable them access healthcare materials. On the other hand, nurses suggested the need for Web-based communication. Additionally, physicians expressed the need for system applications to help them access relevant materials.

Contrary to physicians’ informational needs, nurses emphasized the need for Web-based materials because since it was extremely challenging for some of health workers to access such information using system applications (McKnight et al., 2002). Physicians laid emphasis on source characteristics in general that included peer review and validation while nurses focused on source type such as care plan, protocols, and policy-oriented information.

Systems and methods of communication for sharing and communicating the information and knowledge

Although both physicians and nurses held some common needs for information, clearly, they host varied needs that can help them in obtaining clinically relevant information. In response to the common needs for communication and coordination among healthcare professionals (physicians and nurses), the creation of a common “virtual whiteboard” would be appropriate to facilitate the communication process for effective addressing of low-priority clinical tasks (McKnight et al., 2002). The difficulties experienced by nursing professionals in using medical application systems and devices suggest that Web-based communication would be preferable (Liu & Lemaire, 2005). On the other hand, the need for accurate and updated materials as proposed by physicians confirms the need to develop clinical systems devices and hand-held tools or devices to help them obtain relevant clinical information for effective delivery of healthcare services.

Communication among physicians would be boosted by designing and implementing appropriate wireless hand-held devices (Mendonca, Chen, Stetson, McKnight, Lei, & Cimino, 2004). To address challenges of accessing information at the point of care, professionals may use clinical and information resources that deliver information in real time. On the other hand, the need for efficient information about order status requires the development of event monitoring programs that can help to point at record trends and order statuses (Mendonca, Chen, Stetson, McKnight, Lei, & Cimino, 2004). To help meet the coordination needs of both healthcare professionals, the Presbyterian Hospital or any other institution may introduce data conferencing as a method of sharing healthcare information by uploading multimedia files (Liu & Lemaire, 2005). Such a tool may include Microsoft NetMeeting, which can be used for application among healthcare professionals (Liu & Lemaire, 2005).


Liu, G., & Lemaire, E.

(2005). Data conferencing in health care. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 11: 339-346.

McKnight, K. L., Stetson, P. D., Bakken, S.

, Curran, C., & Cimino, J. J.

(2002). Perceived Information Needs and Communication Difficulties of Inpatient Physicians and Nurses. Journal of American Medical Information Association, 6(1): 64-69 Mendonca, E. A., Chen E. S.

, Stetson, P. D., McKnight, L. K.

, Lei, J., & Cimino, J. J.

(2004). Approach to mobile information and communication for healthcare. International Journal of Medical Information, 73: 631-8.


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