Singapore Institute of Technology
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Identifying primary care clinicians’ preferences for, barriers to, and facilitators of information-seeking in clinical practice in Singapore: a qualitative study

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-27, 04:44 authored by Mauricette LeeMauricette Lee, Wern Ee Tang, Helen Elizabeth Smith, Lorainne Tudor Car

Background: The growth of medical knowledge and patient care complexity calls for improved clinician access to evidence-based resources. This study aimed to explore the primary care clinicians’ preferences for, barriers to, and facilitators of information-seeking in clinical practice in Singapore.

Methods: A convenience sample of ten doctors and ten nurses was recruited. We conducted semi-structured face-to-face in-depth interviews. The interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using thematic content analysis.

Results: Of the 20 participants, eight doctors and ten nurses worked at government-funded polyclinics and two doctors worked in private practice. Most clinicians sought clinical information daily at the point-of-care. The most searched-for information by clinicians in practice was less common conditions. Clinicians preferred evidence-based resources such as clinical practice guidelines and UpToDate®. Clinical practice guidelines were mostly used when they were updated or based on memory. Clinicians also commonly sought answers from their peers. Furthermore, clinicians frequently use smartphones to access the Google search engine and UpToDate® app. The barriers to accessing clinical information included the lack of time, internet surfing separation of work computers, limited search functions in the organisation’s server, and limited access to medical literature databases. The facilitators of accessing clinical information included convenience, easy access, and trustworthiness of information sources.

Conclusion: Most primary care clinicians in our study sought clinical information at the point-of-care daily and reported increasing use of smartphones for information-seeking. Future research focusing on interventions to improve access to credible clinical information for primary care clinicians at the point-of-care is recommended.

Trial registration: This study has been reviewed by NHG Domain Specific Review Board (NHG DSRB) (the central ethics committee) for ethics approval. NHG DSRB Reference Number: 2018/01355 (31/07/2019).


This study is funded by Seedcorn Grant Centre for Primary Health Care Research and Innovation, a joint Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, and the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics Initiative.


Journal/Conference/Book title

BMC Primary Care

Publication date



  • Published