Clinical information seeking in traumatic brain injury:
a survey of Veterans Health Administration
polytrauma care team members
, Rachael Martinez
, Charlesnika Evans
, Karen Saban
, Eric Proescher
& Bridget Smith
*Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research (CHOIR), Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans
Hospital, Bedford, MA, USA,
Division of Health Informatics and Implementation Science, Department of Quantitative Health
Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA,
Center of Innovation for Complex Chronic
Healthcare (CINCCH), Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, IL, USA,
Center for Healthcare Studies and Department of
Preventive Medicine, Institute for Public Health and Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine,
Chicago, IL, USA,
Transition & Care Management Team, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, Chicago, IL, USA, **Edward
Hines Jr. VA Hospital, Hines, IL, USA,
Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, IL, USA, and
Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA
Background: The polytraumatic nature of traumatic brain injury (TBI) makes diagnosis and treatment difﬁcult.
Objectives: To (1) characterise information needs among Veterans Health Administration (VHA)
polytrauma care team members engaged in the diagnosis and treatment of TBI; (2) identify sources used
for TBI related information; and (3) identify barriers to accessing TBI related information.
Methods: Cross-sectional online survey of 236 VHA polytrauma care team members.
Results: Most respondents (95.8%) keep at least somewhat current regarding TBI, but 31.5% need more
knowledge on diagnosing TBI and 51.3% need more knowledge on treating TBI. Respondents use VHA
afﬁliated sources for information, including local colleagues (81.7%), VHA offsite conferences/meetings
(78.3%) and onsite VHA educational offerings (73.6%); however, limited time due to administrative respon-
sibilities (50.9%), limited ﬁnancial resources (50.4%) and patient care (50.4%) were prominent barriers.
Discussion: Medical librarians are in a unique position to develop information services, resources and
other electronic tools that reﬂect the clinical context in which polytrauma care team members practice,
and the different tasks they perform.
Conclusion: Polytrauma care team members could beneﬁt from additional information regarding the
diagnosis and treatment of TBI. Addressing their information needs and supporting their information
seeking requires a mulit-pronged approach to time and ﬁnancial constraints.
Keywords: information management; information seeking behaviour; libraries, medical; surveys
Polytrauma care team members have a clear need for information about the diagnosis and treatment
Polytrauma care team members prefer to gather information from sources afﬁliated with their
health care system, including local colleagues.
Limited time and ﬁnancial constraints are formidable barriers to accessing TBI related information.
Medical librarians should consider matching information resources and services to the speciﬁc tasks
that different polytrauma care team members perform.
Medical librarians can utilise provider opinion leaders to spread word of library resources and
related services to other polytrauma care team members.
Correspondence: Timothy Hogan, Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research, Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital,
Veterans Health Administration, 200 Springs Rd, Building 70 (152), Bedford, MA 01730, USA. E-mail: Timothy.Hogan@va.gov
Published 2017. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA
Health Information & Libraries Journal, 35, pp. 38–49