International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care

General Essays

Physicians' Patterns of Using a Computerized Collection of Guidelines for Primary Care

Jukkapekka Jousimaaa1, Ilkka Kunnamoa2 and Marjukka Mäkeläa3

a1 University of Kuopio

a2 Finnish Medical Society

a3 Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health (STAKES)


Physician's Desk Reference and Database is a Finnish collection of computerized primary care guidelines. The program has been in clinical use since 1989. For this study, a function producing a log file of all searches was added to the program. Two hundred twenty-seven users returned log files that contained 15,267 searches. The users made 3.12 (range 1–10.4) searches per day. The average time needed to find and read an article was 4.9 minutes. Sufficient facts were found in 71% of the searches. Dermatology was the most popular field of interest, followed by infectious diseases and cardiology.