Top Four Risks of Internet Searching for Clinical Evidence

Medical | Jackie Skeith, MS, RN-BC| April 04, 2019

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The pitfalls of Internet searching for clinical evidence summarized into four key risks by EBSCO Health Implementation Manager, Jackie Skeith, MS, RN-BC.

“Just Google it.” Today we hear this phrase often. Google, other search engines, and the internet in general have become a means and a source for many to answer a myriad of questions.

Clinicians have a lot of questions, too. Internet search engine usage is common among healthcare professionals for finding answers to point-of-care clinical questions. However, there are issues with using search engines and internet sites to determine these answers. For clinicians to provide the most appropriate care, current evidence-based information, obtained via credible resources, must be easily accessed, assessed and applied.

Top Four Risks of Internet Searching for Clinical Evidence:

  1. There are often inconsistencies in the way medical terms and phrases are interpreted by search engines. This can lead to clinicians hunting through results to find those related to their true search term.
  2. Information overload can cause questions to remain unanswered or be answered incorrectly, as too much information can be an obstacle rather than a help.
  3. Unreliableness of potential sources’ relevance ranking within result lists may cause pertinent results to go unseen.
  4. Content is often delivered in Internet search results that does not meet minimal standards for comprehensiveness, currency, validity and reliability. Clinicians are forced to spend valuable time vetting their sources that could be better spent with patients.

To take a deeper dive into these pitfalls and learn how EBSCO Health’s robust suite of evidence-based clinical decision support tools including DynaMed Plus®, Dynamic Health™, and Nursing Reference Center™ Plus can provide clinicians with fast, accurate evidence-based answers to their questions at the point of care, download our free whitepaper, “I’ll Just Google It: The Case Against Internet Searching for Clinical Evidence.”  

Download Whitepaper

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Jackie Skeith, MS, RN-BC
EBSCO Health Implementation Manager

Jackie Skeith, MS, RN-BC, is currently a Health Implementation Manager, U.S. Northeast Region and Canada, at EBSCO Health. A registered nurse, Jackie worked clinically in medical-surgical and cardiac step-down units. She has held healthcare informatics positions in hospital, home health and vendor settings for over 20 years. Jackie has a master’s degree in healthcare informatics and is a board-certified Informatics nurse.

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