Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Robin Hurst

Second Advisor

Jesse Senechal

Third Advisor

Steven Crossman

Fourth Advisor

Valerie Robnolt


The purpose of this study was to explore the ways primary care physicians who practice medicine in medically underserved areas (MUAs) maintain knowledge for patient care and decision making. A qualitative research design was utilized to analyze the data collected through semi-structured interviews and physician observations. Ten primary care physicians who work in medically underserved areas described their experiences in obtaining information for patient care.

The findings of the study revealed that despite some barriers to information seeking such as time constraints, access issues, database complications, and inadequate information seeking skills, physicians in MUAs seek information to aid in practicing evidence-based patient care when possible. Some of the barriers can be alleviated through partnerships and collaborations with medical librarians through the improvement of medical students’ library instruction customized to the clinics as well as providing outreach assistance to practicing physicians and making them aware of open access biomedical literature. The study also found that these physicians are mostly self-directed in their learning to maintain knowledge for patient care, and are mostly motivated by patient safety, proliferation of biomedical literature, need to be lifelong learners and their status as patient educators.

However, the findings are limited by the small sample size, the study design which relied heavily on self-reports and perceptions, and the setting. Implications and recommendations for practice, research, medical education, and medical librarians are discussed.


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Available for download on Monday, April 03, 2220