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Anesthesia & Analgesia:
doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3182a6d33b
Economics, Education, and Policy: Review Article

Difficulties and Challenges Associated with Literature Searches in Operating Room Management, Complete with Recommendations

Wachtel, Ruth E. PhD, MBA*; Dexter, Franklin MD, PhD*†

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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to teach operating room managers, financial analysts, and those with a limited knowledge of search engines, including PubMed, how to locate articles they need in the areas of operating room and anesthesia group management. Many physicians are unaware of current literature in their field and evidence-based practices. The most common source of information is colleagues. Many people making management decisions do not read published scientific articles. Databases such as PubMed are available to search for such articles. Other databases, such as citation indices and Google Scholar, can be used to uncover additional articles. Nevertheless, most people who do not know how to use these databases are reluctant to utilize help resources when they do not know how to accomplish a task. Most people are especially reluctant to use on-line help files. Help files and search databases are often difficult to use because they have been designed for users already familiar with the field. The help files and databases have specialized vocabularies unique to the application. MeSH terms in PubMed are not useful alternatives for operating room management, an important limitation, because MeSH is the default when search terms are entered in PubMed. Librarians or those trained in informatics can be valuable assets for searching unusual databases, but they must possess the domain knowledge relative to the subject they are searching. The search methods we review are especially important when the subject area (e.g., anesthesia group management) is so specific that only 1 or 2 articles address the topic of interest. The materials are presented broadly enough that the reader can extrapolate the findings to other areas of clinical and management issues in anesthesiology.

© 2013 International Anesthesia Research Society

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