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Open Access Research article

Increasing utilization of Internet-based resources following efforts to promote evidence-based medicine: a national study in Taiwan

Yi-Hao Weng1, Ken N Kuo23, Chun-Yuh Yang4, Heng-Lien Lo23, Ya-Hui Shih3, Chiehfeng Chen256 and Ya-Wen Chiu35*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatrics, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

2 Center for Evidence-Based Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan

3 Division of Preventive Medicine and Health Services Research, Institute of Population Health Sciences, National Health Research Institutes, Miaoli, Taiwan

4 Department of Public Health, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

5 Master Program in Global Health and Development, College of Public Health and Nutrition, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan

6 Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Taipei Medical University Wan Fang Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

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BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2013, 13:4  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-13-4

Published: 7 January 2013



Since the beginning of 2007, the National Health Research Institutes has been promoting the dissemination of evidence-based medicine (EBM). The current study examined longitudinal trends of behaviors in how hospital-based physicians and nurses have searched for medical information during the spread of EBM.


Cross-sectional postal questionnaire surveys were conducted in nationally representative regional hospitals of Taiwan thrice in 2007, 2009, and 2011. Demographic data were gathered concerning gender, age, working experience, teaching appointment, academic degree, and administrative position. Linear and logistic regression models were used to examine predictors and changes over time.


Data from physicians and nurses were collected in 2007 (n = 1156), 2009 (n = 2975), and 2011 (n = 3999). There were significant increases in the use of four Internet-based resources – Web portals, online databases, electronic journals, and electronic books – across the three survey years among physicians and nurses (p < 0.001). Access to textbooks and printed journals, however, did not change over the 4-year study period. In addition, there were significant relationships between the usage of Internet-based resources and users’ characteristics. Age and faculty position were important predictors in relation to the usage among physicians and nurses, while academic degree served as a critical factor among nurses only.


Physicians and nurses used a variety of sources to look for medical information. There was a steady increase in use of Internet-based resources during the diffusion period of EBM. The findings highlight the importance of the Internet as a prominent source of medical information for main healthcare professionals.