Information Needs and Usage of Paramedical Professionals (Paramedics) in Sri Lanka
Author(s): Abhirame Sivasanthiran
The purpose of this study is to understand the information needs, sources of information used, and problems encountered by Paramedics in Sri Lanka. This research adopted deductive approach and used quantitative methods in data collection and analysis. The self-administered questionnaires were distributed among a sample of fifty-one Paramedics, and the data analysis involved descriptive and inferential statistics. It was found that the Paramedics mainly require information for patient care (76.5%) and staying up-to-date (72.5%), which prompt them to seek information daily and weekly respectively, and their affiliated departments together with tasks-performed exert highly significant influence on their information needs. Though, Internet (90.2%) and knowledge of colleagues (74.5%) are the mostly used general information resources, their subfield-specific resources find very high usage. They are well satisfied on the accuracy of information in their field, yet less content on availability, cost and timeliness. Limited access to information resources (78.4%) and lack of time (64.7%) are the common problems encountered by the Paramedics in securing professional information. This study shows that the Paramedics make efforts to stay information-rich to help them in patient care, though information is rarely sought for formal higher education, which is not a requirement for their profession in Sri Lanka. Hence, they heavily use the Internet and share knowledge with their peers. Some of these findings compare with research outputs of other countries, while others contrast. These results would help in improving the information service for the Paramedics and would form a basis for future comprehensive studies globally.