This study is a part of the doctoral dissertation that proposes concrete measures to improve health-care information outreach program for rural health-care professionals in primary and secondary health care in Punjab, Pakistan. This study aims to report on the barriers to accessing and using online health-care information from rural settings of the Punjab province of Pakistan.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in primary and secondary health-care settings in the Punjab province of Pakistan. The study’s population consisted of the rural primary care physicians (PCPs), who were geographically dispersed across 2,873 different remote health-care settings across Punjab. These practice settings included 2,455 basic health units, 293 rural health centers, 89 tehsil headquarter hospitals and 36 district headquarter hospitals.
Limited internet access, non-availability of required equipment and lack of training facilities were identified as the main barriers. PCPs’ gender, previous enrollment in post-graduation programs and type of health-care facility were significant factors in the perceived barriers related to both “non-availability of required equipment” and “inadequate training facilities on the use of information resources”.
The findings of the study hold some important practical implications for different stakeholders. This study identifies and addresses the barriers to accessing and using health-care information for PCPs in rural settings. The success of the health-care information outreach program in Punjab, Pakistan, should rely on the eradication of these barriers.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first large-scale study in Pakistan that assesses the barriers and proposes ways to overcome these barriers to effectively access and use health-care information.
The authors would like to acknowledge the support of Dr Keith Cogdill, Director National Institute of Health Library, and Professor Khalid N. Haque, Professor of Neonatal Medicine, for conducting and improving the quality of this research work.
Naeem, S., Bhatti, R. and Ahmad, K. (2020), "Information outreach interventions to promote the information access, use and exchange in the rural areas of Pakistan", Information Discovery and Delivery, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IDD-09-2019-0066Download as .RIS
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