Physicians always need to update their knowledge to provide care based on scientific evidence. In some cases it may be a problem to reach the different sources of medical and pharmacological information. In Italy a cultural shift in this area was provided through the development of drug information centers. Objectives. This article describes how the physician can be directly involved in the organisation and management of a medical information service. Methods. Doctorline is a private and independent medical information service accessible through a toll-free telephone number to nearly 50000 Italian physicians. The service works from Monday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and can provide on-line (during the same call) answers on: clinical, pharmacological, toxicological issues, specialised medical centers, congresses, and off-line (some days after the call) documentation: bibliographies, full reprints of journal articles, and legislative documentation. The staff is composed by physicians, trained in communication methodologies and computerised databases use. The main on-line facilities are Medline, Micromedex-CCIS (which consist of the Drugdex, Poisindex, Emergindex, Tomes, Drug-Reax, Teris/Reprorisk), and Italian Formulary on CD- ROM. Books, serials, bulletins, national and international drug formularies, and ad hoc files are also available. Results. In five years, Doctorline received 60653 calls. Nearly 30% of the overall calls were made by general practitioners, followed by cardiologists (18%), orthopaedics (14%), pharmacists (13%), and urologists (9%). Out of the 52181 physicians connected to the service, only 7.746 (14.8%) called at least once, with a mean number of calls per physicians of 3.6 (5.9 SD). Nearly 20% of calls concerned pharmacological issues and more than 40% clinical update. From 1995, when the service became also accessible to retail pharmacists, the number of pharmacological requests rose from 13% in 1994 to about 20% in 1995, and now it reaches nearly 25%. The request on drugs concerned mainly questions about efficacy (41%), safety (26%) and use in pregnancy (5%). Of the overall request, 18.2% received an on-line answer, while more than 60% were the on- line answers related to pharmacological issues. The answer mean waiting time was 7.8 (10.4 SD) days. Conclusions. This article discusses the role of physician in the area of medical information. However, it is stressed the need to overcome the actual limitations of Doctorline, and to aim at the quality and relevance of the provided information.
|Translated title of the contribution||> a role for physicians in the scientific information field. The experience of five years activity|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Giornale Italiano di Farmacia Clinica|
|Publication status||Published - 1998|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)