In an age where health professionals lead very busy working lives, electronic information sources provide ease of access to vast amounts of health information on an unprecedented scale. Health professionals have the ability to access the information they require from a location convenient to them and can do so at any time, day or night. This convenience has resulted in an increasing reliance upon electronic sources of information amongst women’s health professionals. As technologies develop, both the importance placed on the electronic dissemination of information by women’s health professionals and the use of such resources will increase dramatically. This chapter outlines the different sources of electronic information available to women’s health professionals, the constantly evolving online accessibility issues, the importance of critical appraisal when assessing the validity of online resources, and the role of the information specialist in the health sector. As this topic is currently under-researched a number of future research directions are also proposed.
Electronic Information Sources For Women’S Health Knowledge For Professionals
The development of the internet can be said to have revolutionised the way in which health information is delivered to clinicians around the world. As both access to and use of the internet continues to increase, the availability of internet-based knowledge sources for health professionals has soared. The development of the internet has allowed access to information on an unprecedented scale. Information on a vast array of health topics is available on the internet and delivered to the user very quickly, easily and most importantly on a 24/7 basis. Accessed at a location convenient to the user and at a time that is suitable, the internet is an increasingly popular platform for the delivery of health information resources.
With the explosion in the use of the internet, many organisations providing health information resources to professionals identified the need to provide their resources also on the internet and to expand the services they provided where internet technology would allow them to offer additional services that they may not have traditionally been able to provide. In particular, the field of women’s health has witnessed an enormous growth in the availability of electronic resources covering all aspects of women’s health and aimed at all practitioners involved in the care of women. The wide variety of different health professionals working in women’s health has allowed for different knowledge sources to be developed or expanded ensuring that all professionals including, for example, consultant obstetricians, consultant gynecologists, midwives, general practitioners and gynecological nurses, have access to the information they require to make health-related decisions.