PATRICIA K. SMITH, M.L.S.
To the editor: The conclusions of Haynes and colleagues (1) in their evaluation of MEDLINE searching systems are not supported by my years of experience as a professional searcher.
The ostensible purpose of the study was to evaluate mechanisms for the clinician to access MEDLINE or other online services. The authors correctly assess that most general practitioners are behind in their knowledge of the literature. My experience as both a professional searcher and a patient support this conclusion. Obstetricians routinely suggest a diagnostic test on the basis of data that were superseded several years ago by a definitive study. In
SMITH PK. Computer Searching of the Medical Literature. Ann Intern Med. ;104:723. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-104-5-723_1
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1986;104(5):723.
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