9º World Congress on Health Information and Libraries

Salvador, Bahia - Brazil, September, 20 to 23 - 2005


4th Regional Coordination Meeting of the VHL

September, 19 to 20 - 2005

Scientific Information for Patients: needs and expectations

  • CEDESS/UNIFESP, Disciplina de Clínica Médica, UNIFESP, São Paulo  - Brasil
  • CEDESS, UNIFESP, São Paulo  - Brasil
  • Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, São Paulo  - Brasil

The history of communication and information has been changed by several important concept changes. The “age of information” has brought profound modifications of concepts of well-being and treatment of diseases. The formerly called “patient” now becomes a “customer of health services” and demands more information about his disease, in order to take part in decision-making processes. The increase in search for scientific information by patients at the Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo’s academic library has driven attention to this problem. A search made in some of Sao Paulo’s hospitals resulted in only one facility of information for consumers. This study aims at knowing the process of search for scientific information by health customers in academic libraries, in order to raise subsidies for health information services. The research strategy consisted of an exploratory qualitative study. Patients that asked for scientific material in two libraries were interviewed. We also studied, by means of a written questionnaire, patients with chronic diseases from Sao Paulo’s Hospital. We observed that library customers had very specific needs for information, generally of diseases, about themselves or about relatives. As a rule, the information needed had not been sufficiently delivered by attending physicians. The “informed consumers” had much more demands on information and intended to cooperate with their doctors. Patients preferred to use general information materials, such as books and folders. They valued language easy to understand which confirms they need to have a specialized information services for them needs. The availability of information for this public is, nowadays, a social commitment for the Public and Private Institutions.