Information Needs of Public Health Workers

This article reports on a survey and other research in the UK, but may have some value in assessing the health needs of public health workers in other countries.

The authors point out that public health workers have very many areas of interest screening, diseases, cancer, and management being amongst the most commonly reported.

The type of resources used in descending order were: Guidelines (81%), Reports, Evidence Summaries and 6 others, which included, surprisingly, Case Studies  – especially in community based interventions where they may be the only source available. Systematic reviews  came last with  c. 43% responses.

Most respondents were at least fairly confident about their information skills, but 22% reported that they were not very confident about managing bibliographic references.

Time and financial constraints were commonly reported as barriers to information access and to a lesser extent a lack of awareness of information resources was reported as well as information overload.

The authors conclude that there are several areas which would repay further research especially into the barriers to finding information which have remained unchanged since a survey in 2012. They recommend qualitative methods such as focus groups and face to face interviews to gain a greater understanding of individual sector needs and locally available services.

Based on article by: Emma Hughes et al. (2016) Information needs of the public health workforce in 2015. Journal of EAHIL 12(1):14-18.

Jean Shaw, Phi



About jgreigshaw

I work with Partnerships in Health Information which promotes partnership between libraries in Africa and the UK with an emphasis in African leadership. I have visited Kenya, Mali, Uganda and Zambia though Phi has contacts in many more African countries.
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