Information Behaviour And Work Effectiveness Of Physicians In Selected Government Hospitals In Edo State, Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material Under Health Information Management

Information Behaviour And Work Effectiveness Of Physicians In Selected Government Hospitals In Edo State, Nigeria


Physicians, as health care providers, require information to effectively carry out their duties. They need relevant, accurate and up-to-date information when making clinical decisions as the cost of wrong diagnosis could be fatal. It has, however, been observed that the information behaviour of physicians in government hospitals and the quality of their work delivery fall below acceptable standards. Also, there is uncertainty as to what extent physicians’ information behaviour affect their work effectiveness. This study was therefore carried out to investigate the relationship between information behaviour and work effectiveness of physicians in selected government hospitals in Edo State, Nigeria.

The study adopted a survey research design. The population for the study comprised all the physicians in general and tertiary hospitals in Edo State. Purposive sampling was used to select 6 out of the 12 government hospitals because they are well known. Since the population was not very large, census was used to include all the 623 physicians in the study. A structured questionnaire titled “Information behaviour and work effectiveness of physicians in government hospitals in Edo State” (IBWEPQ) was used to gather data. The questionnaire was validated and the Cronbach’s Alpha reliability test for the constructs yielded 0.728 for information needs, 0.986 for information retrieval and 0.756 for work effectiveness. Out of the 623 copies of questionnaire administered, 516 (82.8%) were retrieved for analysis. Six hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. Descriptive and regressive/correlation inferential statistics were used to analyze the data collected.

The findings revealed a positive relationship between information needs of physicians and their work effectiveness (r = 0.422: p< 0.05); a positive relationship between information seeking behaviour of physiciansand their work effectiveness (r = 0.090:p<0.05);a positive relationship between information consulted and their work effectiveness (r = -0.159: p<0.05). However, there was a negative relationship between information retrieval by physicians and their work effectiveness (r = 0.004:p<0.05); a negative relationship between information they usedand their work effectiveness (r = 0.605: p<0.05). The findings also revealed that the major health information need of physicians in government hospitals in Edo State was on treatment and test of patients (87.2%); the major sources of information consultedincluded medical texts, colleagues and the Internet (97.9%, 97.1%, 90.3%, respectively); the major challenges facing physicians in government hospitals were ignorance of existing relevant materials, lack of time and financial constraints (100%; 97.1%; 96.9%, respectively); respondents’ commitment to organizational goals wasnot satisfactory (34.4%).

The study concluded that financial constraints and lack of time adversely affected physicians’ ability to access relevant materials necessary for work effectiveness. The study recommended that the management of government hospitals should boost their e-libraries and provide better working conditions for physicians to enhance their service delivery and commitment to organizational goals. Physicians in government hospitals should be pro-active in updating themselves in general medical knowledge in order to keep abreast emerging diseases.

Keywords: Information use, Information behaviour, Information retrieval skills, Work, effectiveness, Government hospitals, Physicians.

Word Count: 479

Table of Contents

  • Content Page
  • Title page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgements
  • Abstract
  • Table of Contents
  • List of Tables
  • List of Figures

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background to the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Hypotheses
  • 1.6 Scope of the Study
  • 1.7 Significance of the Study
  • 1.8 Operational Definition of Terms

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.0 Introduction
  • 2.1 Medical Health Care Sectors in Nigeria
  • 2.2 The Concept of Information Behaviour of Physicians
  • 2.2.1 Information Needs of Physicians
  • 2.2.2 Information Seeking of Physicians
  • 2.2.3 Information Sources of Physicians
  • 2.2.4 Information Retrieval of Physicians
  • 2.2.5 Information Use of Physicians
  • 2.3 The Concept of Work Effectiveness
  • 2.4 Information Behavior of Physicians and Work Effectiveness
  • 2.5 Information needs of physicians and work effectiveness
  • 2.6 Information Seeking Behavior and Work Effectiveness of Physicians
  • 2.7 Information sources consulted by physicians and work effectiveness
  • 2.8 Information Retrieval and Work Effectiveness of Physicians
  • 2.9 Information Use and Work Effectiveness of Physicians
  • 2.10 Work Effectiveness of Physicians in Government Hospitals
  • 2.11 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.11.1Leckie’s Model of Information Seeking
  • 2.11.2 Kanter’s theory of Structural Empowerment
  • 2.12 Relevance of the Theories
  • 2.13 Conceptual Model
  • 2.14Appraisal of Literature

Chapter Three:


  • 3.0 Introduction
  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population
  • 3.3 Sample size and sampling Technique
  • 3.4 Instrumentation
  • 3.5 Validity and Reliability of Instrument
  • 3.6 Data Collection Procedure
  • 3.7Method of Data Analysis

Chapter Four:

Data Analysis, Results and Discussion of Findings

  • 4.0 Introduction
  • 4.1 Data Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation
  • 4.1.1 Demographic Information of Respondents
  • 4.2 Research Questions
  • 4.3Test of Hypotheses
  • 4.3.1 Hypothesis One
  • 4.3.2 Hypothesis Two
  • 4.3.3 Hypothesis Three
  • 4.3.4 Hypothesis Four
  • 4.3.5 Hypothesis Five
  • 4.3.6 Hypothesis Six
  • 4.4 Discussion of Findings
  • 4.4.1Health Information Needs of Physician
  • 4.4.2 Information Seeking Behaviour of Physicians
  • 4.4.3 Physicians’ Sources of Information
  • 4.4. 4 Physicians’ Information Retrieval Skills
  • 4.4..5 Physicians’ Use of Information
  • 4.4.6 Challenges and Physicians’ Quality of Work Delivery

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

  • 5.0 Introduction
  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendations
  • 5.4 Contribution to Knowledge
  • 5.5 Suggestions for Further Study
  • 5.6 Limitations of the Study
  • References
  • Appendices

List of Tables

  • 3.1 Population and Sample Size of Physicians and Hospitals in Edo State, Nigeria
  • 4.1.1 Distribution of Respondents by Sex
  • 4.1.2 Distribution of Respondents by Age
  • 4.1.3 Distribution of Respondents by Marital Status
  • 4.1.4 Distribution Respondents Number of Years in Practice
  • 4.1.5 Distribution Respondents by Level of Education Attained
  • 4.1.6 Distribution Respondents by Area of Specialization
  • 4.1.7 Distribution Respondents by Hospital
  • 4.1.8 Distribution of Respondents by Rank/Designation
  • 4. 2.1 Health Information Needs of Physicians
  • 4. 2.2 Information Seeking Behaviour of Physicians
  • 4.2. 3 Sources of Information Consulted by Physicians
  • 4. 2.4 Physicians’ Information Retrieval
  • 4.2. 5 Physicians’ Use of Information
  • 4.2. 6 Work Effectiveness of Physicians
  • 4.2.7. Challenges Encountered with Information Seeking for Work Effectiveness by Physicians

List of Figures

  • 2.1 The Information-seeking of Professionals model
  • 2.2 Conceptual Framework of Information Behaviour and Work Effectiveness of Physicians in Government Hospitals

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Physicians play a critical role in the search for an acceptable quality of life. They make decisions that positively or adversely affect the wellbeing of individuals and populations. Since such decisions are based on information it is imperative to know that the way physicians perceive, gather, and use information have serious health and wellness implications. It is expected by stakeholders in a society that is increasingly becoming health conscious and phenomenally advancing in science that care providers, particularly physicians, cannot just do their work in a perfunctory manner; but that the important task of bringing relief to the sick should be done effectively and with a high sense of professionalism. Of all professions, the medical profession may perhaps be singled out as a career that should be least tolerant to mediocrity and a laissez faire attitude to work. This is because there is much at stake in dealing with health issues. The aphorism that “health is wealth” underscores the important role health plays in the overall wellbeing of a nation. The productive capacity of a society is inextricably tied to the health of the citizenry.

The Constitution of the World Health Organization, which came into force on April 7, 1948, defined health “as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being” (Sartorius, 2006: 662). Specifically, in Nigeria, the evolution of the health care sector has come a long way and may be traceable to various European expeditions in the early-to mid-nineteenth century (Chuke, 1988). The early church missionaries played a major role in the establishment of health care centres for the people. Indeed, the first hospital in Nigeria was the Sacred Heart Hospital in Abeokuta, built by the Roman Catholic Mission in 1885 (Scott-Emakpor, 2010). Nigeria has had several National Development Plans in which health care delivery was a major component. It has however been observed that she has not come close to achieving the lofty objectives in the Development Plans. As a matter of fact, services have hopelessly deteriorated to the extent that industrial actions by all classes of doctors became the order of the day in the 1980s (Scott-Emakpor, 2010). It was at the same time in the 1980s that a Military Government in Nigeria gave as a reason for the Military intervention in the deplorable state of health services, declaring “our teaching hospitals have been reduced to mere consulting clinics” (Cited in Scott-Emakpor, 2010:58). The situation seems not to have changed much today.

The unsavoury situation in the Nigerian health sector may have given rise to medical tourism for a range of care needs. According to the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Nigerians spend $1billion annually for medical tourism (PwC, 2017). Instructively, the published Ministry of Health budget proposal for 2016 totalled $1.3billion while total government expenditure was $5.85billion for 2015 (PwC, 2017). The implication of this is that the cost of medical tourism is almost 20% of the total expenditures on public sector care, including capital and operating costs of all the health facilities nationwide. Medical tourism constitutes a huge drain to the scarce resources and the external reserves of the nation. It has a negative impact on the Nigerian health sector and on the overall economy. In some of the surveys that have been conducted to identify some of the factors that motivate patients to seek health care abroad it has been found that a key theme running through the responses is lack of trust in the local healthcare delivery system (PwC, 2017). There is lack of confidence in medical treatment in Nigeria. The medical tourists feel that they will not be given the correct treatment for their conditions; that the care will not be delivered by healthcare professionals with the required competence; and that there is no clear protocols to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. In the healthcare delivery system, like any other profession, relevant information is crucial to the healthcare providers. Adequate, timely and accurate information is, no doubt, a necessity in enhancing the health profile of any given society.

Reflecting on the vital role information plays in the workplace and the society, Olatunji (2009) draws a relationship between judicious use of relevant information and nation-building process. It is an important tool for societal development and advancement. Alakpodia (2010) opined that one of the bases of accessing whether a country is developed or not is the extent to which its information availability and accessibility is enhanced to improve its socio-economic growth. Basically, information is the major key to every individual and organizational success. Information plays a significant role in our individual lives and our professions; it is a crucial feature of production of good, service, consumption and exchange in the information society. The global community has entered an era where the source of wealth and power is increasing from information and human mental creativity as compared to physical resources (Martin, 1995).

Information plays a crucial role in the workplace setting of the physicians. For one to be informed, it is necessary to be armed with the requisite information; thus information is vital in the life of any individual or organization. Tiamiyu (2003) conceptualizes information as the meaning that a person infers from some communicated data. This definition recognizes that information is only formed in the minds of human beings as they interpret data. It is also the outcome of conscious observations, thoughts and actions. Another way of understanding the concept of information is to see it as statements of facts, figures, ideas and creative works of the human intellect, which are by way of reasoning interrelated and being communicated, recorded and distributed formally in any format (Reitz, 2004). Information is not independent of social practices. It serves as a reliable basis for adequate successful behaviour. Without information, no individual or business can anticipate circumstances.

Information feeds anticipation because the more information one receives, the better an individual or business can anticipate and therefore make informed decisions. Persons that can better anticipate situations become masters of circumstances while people or organizations that cannot properly anticipate their circumstances become victims of the situation. This also applies to physicians because of the nature of their work. Physicians need to seek timely and accurate information to better anticipate their job effectively and efficiently at the end of the day.

Information behaviour is a concept that refers to how an individual needs, seeks and uses information in different situations. Wilson (2000:49) defined information behaviour as the “totality of behaviour in respect to sources and channels of information, including both active and passive information seeking and information use. Information behaviour involves face-to-face interactions, as well as the passive receiving of information.” Examples of passive information behaviour may include information received from television or radio without having any intention of acting on the information provided. On the other hand, Wilson (2007: 8) further explained that information seeking behaviour is “purposive seeking for information as a result of the need to satisfy set goals.”

As posited by Gorman (1995) the information need of physicians can be viewed in four dimensions: (i) Unrecognized needs. This type of need exists when physicians are not aware of the information they need or their knowledge is insufficient to fulfil the needs. Unrecognized needs should be known from physicians’ knowledge of clinical practices. This need cannot depend on information system because the user cannot recognize their need. The potentials for the use of automated reminder systems and diagnostic decision support systems may be ignored because the physician would not know how to search for these needs. (ii) Recognized needs are articulated by physicians as something needing further examination although not always followed up. (iii) Pursued needs are recognized needs that are followed up. (vi) Satisfied needs are recognized and pursued needs where answers are found.

Olatunji, Ibegwan and Odugbemi (2002) affirmed that information need of physicians is connected to issues on medical decisions that will involve the area of specialization, educational level, and years of experience. For example, the paediatric physicians will be in quest of information on how to handle children’s health conditions while the obstetrics and gynaecologists will be interested in women information related health issues in the emergency room. Other physicians seek for information to handle cases that are before them in order to carry out their work, effectively. In fact, physicians more often need information related to patient-specific decisions, such as questions about treatment, diagnosis, drugs and other medical opinions and patient management, information to update their professional knowledge in general and also for their understanding of a particular disease. Physician’s information need will lead to information seeking.

Akpan-Atata (2012:15) “reveals that information needs often reflect the age and changing socio-economic, health, family and personal circumstances of people and are therefore not permanent but ever changing.’’ As rightly observed by Ucak and Kurbanoglu (2008), information need and information seeking behaviour are two of the most important research areas of the user’s studies and they are two complementary concepts which are affected by many factors. They further stated that research carried out in these areas of user’s studies indicate that information need and information seeking behaviour of physicians vary from one career to another. So, such different needs and behaviours necessitate information seeking behaviours. For information seeking to take place the individual must be actively and consciously searching for information. Information seeking is a conscious effort to gain information; and information behaviour is the ‘totality’ of all information interactions from unintentional and passive encountering to active seeking (Case, 2012).

Information seeking is a process and action undertaken by an individual to locate current information from the various media available in the libraries; that is, books encyclopaedias, journals and more currently electronic sources, in order to make informed decisions. Information seeking is a behaviour when there is a task to accomplish in an individual’s mind; for example, preparing to write an examination, the individual actively seeks information by reading books and having discussions with people until the need is satisfied (Kaur, 2010). Information seeking is a conscious effort to acquire information to solve problems in daily activities. Information seeking reveals that there is a gap in the knowledge of the seeker and there is a desire to bridge the gap; in order to fill up the gap the seeker interacts with the information sources in the library or archival centres.

Nnadozie (2014) described sources of information as carriers of information and this can be in the form of physical objects on which information is recorded for preservation, utilization and dissemination, such as books, periodicals, documents, newspapers and also in electronic media ( e.g. Internet and CD), but to mention a few. They are transmitted orally, audio-visually and electronically. These are materials or sources from which seekers find information, wisdom to be informed, and become knowledgeable that will enable them to carry out their work effectively, in order to make decisions and guide actions. These sources are considered to be reliable, relevant, accurate, up-to-date, timely, comprehensive, credible and adequate information for making useful, effective and efficient decision at workplace. Again, Tiamiyu (2003) stated that information sources are documents generally stored in different media print and non-print formats (such as books, journals, newspapers, maps, paintings, computers, sound and video recordings, database on various media). In addition, people themselves serve as important storehouse and conveyors of information that is transmitted by printing, audio-visually and electronically. Aina (2004) emphasized that users of information sources must have the ability to use large and significant amount of stored information. Therefore, there is need for accessibility and relevancy of information since the use of information sources can effectively impact physician’s clinical decisions and work effectiveness. In submission, information sources refer to where to locate and retrieve the information for problem-solving in order to be effectively and efficiency at work place.

Information retrieval is concerned with searching for materials that are relevant to users’ information needs (Dunlop and Reid, 1998). This view is corroborated by Mutshewa (2008) who noted that information retrieval involves the retrieval of information from a collection which could be a manual library catalogue, a database or Internet in response to information for problem solving. It is essential for the physician to search for specific information to make a clinical decision. Information retrieval may sometimes pose little or no difficulty and at other times a huge challenge. For example, if there are few information sources like 15-20 books available and information is contained in two or more of them, it will be easy for one to browse through the books to get the one that has the needed information. But if the number of information sources from which to search for needed information is huge (say about 15,000 volumes of book), then it becomes really difficult to go through all the sources to get the needed information, so the physician is faced with an information retrieval challenge. The physician may then need to depend on information retrieval device to get the needed information. Harter (1986) defines information retrieval as a device interposed between a potential user of information and the collection of information itself. Information retrieval system could be a library catalogue, an online public access catalogue (OPAC), a CD-ROM or online database such as Ebscohost, Jastor, Science direct, PubMed. These retrievals help the users to access the needed information by acquiring information and putting it to use.

Information use by physicians is based on diagnosis, treatment, drugs and other medical opinions and work effectiveness. This has to do with the Physician’s use of the right information which is accurate and relevant to make a clinical decisions in day to day activities. There are different stages of use which can be recognized. The first stage of use simply involves examining whether information is worth using, the usefulness of the information or whether it fails to satisfy need. The second stage is whether the use of the information is relevant for meeting the need of good clinical decisions that would help the physician’s practice. Information use is considered in respect to the types of work to handle by the physician in the hospitals.

One of the most important aspects of physicians’ work effectiveness is the availability and accessibility to right health information which will enable them to manage patients’ case effectively. This involves clinical decision-making and clinical judgment made by physicians to decide specific aspects of cares such as diagnosis, choice of tests, and prescription of drugs, surgery and therapy. Some of these health information needed by the physicians include information about the spread of particular diseases, to get information on patient-related treatment and tests. Therefore, physicians needed to have access to relevant information; this is especially the case for epidemiologists who examine the patterns of illness in the population and try to know with accurate information why certain groups or individuals develop a particular disease, whereas others do not. Such information is particularly relevant in matters relating to a disease condition that is of public health issue. The question as to why physicians need certain information to enhance their productivity may further be explained by the critical nature of their work which requires that before they can make clinical decisions they must seek adequate and right information at the right time and at the right place. Accurate, relevant and adequate use of health information is thus a very important aspect in the daily clinical practice of the physician.

It must be reiterated that for physicians to be more effective, succeed, and achieve their goals, timely and relevant health information is highly necessary. Ibenne (2010) draws an analogy by saying that information is like what the central nervous system is to the body. It controls, directs and monitors the functioning of different organs of the system. Therefore, having access to credible, trustworthy and valid information at the right time, helps the physicians to save the lives of patients.

It has, however, not been quite easy for a number of physicians to attain optimum effectiveness in the manner they carry out their routine tasks. The factors responsible for this are numerous; namely, the individual, the organization, and the environment, to mention a few. Whereas the individual physicians may have a large share of the blame as a result of personal characteristics, the organization where they carry out their duties cannot be absolved completely. Work has a way of impinging on workers’ effectiveness and productivity.

It can no longer be taken for granted the huge impact technology makes on the effectiveness and efficiency of workers. Physicians would therefore need to be abreast of recent trends in technological advancement to hone their skills otherwise their methods would soon be outdated thus affecting negatively their effectiveness. This is where the information behaviour of physicians becomes very important since they would need to take advantage of easy access to accurate, up-to-date and relevant information offered by modern technology. Non-availability of relevant information sources also hamper work effectiveness of the physicians. Another factor is financial constraint; that is, when the management of the hospitals are not willing to support financially by providing necessary equipment for use.

Work effectiveness is one of the important goals and values of any organization or institution in which an individual works; it continues to exist as a crucial element in organizational behaviour. It has been noted that improving work effectiveness is one of the primary reasons for organizational or institutional growth and success. Work effectiveness is all about individual potential, aspirations and contribution to organization or institution gains, effectiveness, and survival. Work effectiveness is one of the most essential factors within work, involving maintaining and increasing productivity for organization or institution. Conway (2015) noted that physicians cannot afford to ignore their work effectiveness simply because it is only when their work effectiveness is improved upon that they can render quality services and provide patients with prompt attention. Yahya and Johari (2009) viewed work effectiveness as one of the important indicators in managing organizational performance. They further explained that a growing emphasis has been on employee work effectiveness as a source of competitive edge to promote responsiveness in enhancing overall organizational effectiveness. Work effectiveness can be defined as doing the right thing at the time; that is, when the employee is doing the job rightly and making continuous contributions in improving the organization or institution (Abayomi, 2015). Further, it refers to how workers deal with their works and how they accomplish different tasks in the organization or institution.

Shadare and Hammed (2009) proposed the following guidelines to measure work effectiveness: quality of work services delivery, information/knowledge of patients records, physicians work commitment and clinical decision making. Whereas clinical judgment is useful in day-to-day management of patients, access to relevant information sources needed by the physicians, adequate information skill, sufficient computer-based services are equally necessary for a better job performance. The working place is vital to work effectiveness; this implies adequate facilities that aid work effectiveness. These include access to needed information, information seeking, information sources, information retrieval and information use and of course a conducive work place.

Work effectiveness of physicians could be measured in an organization or hospital through the following indicators: Quality of work service delivery, physicians information/knowledge management of the patients, physicians work commitment to organization or hospital values, clinical decision making. For physicians to be effective at work place the ability to discharge quality high service to the community it serves is very important. Therefore, availability, accessibility and up-to-date information is highly needed because effectiveness has to do with doing the right thing at the right time (Nwachukwu, 2007; Mosadeghrad, 2013). In addition, work effectiveness has been found to be a very effective way of improving and delivery service in the medical field (Novack, Suchman, Clark, Epsein, Najberg and Kaplan, 1999). Impliedly, if there will be work effectiveness in government hospitals in Edo State they will need to put in place quality assurance standards for the organizations. This will ensure that service delivery and effectiveness will not fall below standard. To measure standards for work effectiveness will entail the following:

Patient’s Information/knowledge management: This has to do with managing patient’s information effectively and efficiently and being able to take accurate and prompt decision. It also means to seek knowledge, knowledge base search and retrieval tools to create new knowledge collaborative decision-making process and support tools (Wyatt, 1991; Korthari, et al, 2011) . Physicians’ effectiveness in patients’ information management consists of tacit knowledge of patients. This type of information is considered “health status” of patient own complex knowledge in current and past medical conditions that the physicians may not know about (Abidi, 2001). However, such knowledge is vital for physicians to know, especially when it comes to the diagnosis and prescription treatments of illness.

Physicians Work commitment: A great premium is to be placed on organizational or hospitals’ values and this includes maintaining confidentiality to patients, ensuring good relationship between colleagues and patients, accountability for any course of actions in the organization (Freund, 2005). Work commitment is an internal decision which cannot be forced. It happens when one’s thoughts and emotions are pointing to the same direction.

Clinical decision making: Sound and practical decisions that are needed to deal effectively with critical situations and are based on careful analysis and diagnosis. In other words, it means clinical judgment made by physicians to decide specific aspects of care such as diagnosis, choice of tests, prescription of drugs, surgery and therapy (Mandin, Jones, Woloschuk and Harasym, 1997).

For effective work in the hospitals every physician should be armed with the right information. The relevance of information to effectiveness is that it is necessary for physicians to have access to information which must be provided at the right time, in the right quality and quantity (Menachemi, Langley and Brooks, 2007; Ndukwe, 2005). It should be located at the right place and properly disseminated. Physicians need information to keep them abreast and to inform others about the current discoveries in the field of medicine; information is also crucial for better work effectiveness to make specific clinical decision. Information is a vital resource, a key currency for work effectiveness (Komolafe-Opadeji, 1999 and Zakari, 2015).

This study provides a general picture of information behaviours and work effectiveness of physicians in government hospitals in Edo State. The question may be asked, who are physicians? Physicians may be described as persons who have been educated, trained and licensed to practice the art and science of medicine (Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, 2006; Dawes & Sampson, 2003). A practitioner of medicine as contrasted with a surgeon is a person who formally and legally accepts patients for admission to a health care facility. In other words, a physician is a registered medical practitioner who specializes in the treatment of diseases and disorders. They are also responsible for the patients care throughout their stay in the hospital. Physicians work in three healthcare levels: primary (e.g. family health centres, clinics, General Practitioners), secondary (e.g. general hospitals) and tertiary (or specialist hospitals). This study focuses on physicians working in secondary and tertiary hospitals who are identified as clinicians working in hospitals. Almost all hospital physicians specialize in a particular area of medicine or surgery, such as anaesthetics, cardiology, ophthalmology, paediatrics or pathology.

Cheibi and Abba (2003) and Ajuwon (2015) affirmed that physicians have vital roles in achieving health care goals of a given state or country; updating knowledge with relevant information is very important for health professionals to deliver quality and sustainable health care services to their patients. However, this is possible only when there is sustainable access to health information sources. Graham, Fional and Colin, (2011) identified the duties of the physician as follows: Physicians carry out duties such as conducting medical histories and physical examination to assess the patients, to investigate, and carry out diagnosis on chronic conditions. Diagnosis is a vital element of physician’s expertise in medical practice and it is based on knowledge and strong assessment skills. Also physicians work collaboratively with the healthcare team to provide optimal care. This includes providing referrals to other practitioners or services that the patient may need. They provide reports and updates of patient’s condition and needs to other services such as physical therapists.

Another important role of physicians is that they provide continuous care for the patient while in the hospital. They manage and treat variety of medical conditions from minor cuts to mental health to palliative care to surgery. Therefore, physicians need information required to manage complexity and risk in situations that often times are uncertain and changing. Physicians play a vital role as an advocate for patients and families. They help the patients go through a complex medical system to be able to obtain most patient-centred care in a cost effective manner. The physicians work to identify and meet the need of the individual patient, the practice population and the community by working with a variety of partners in the community, public health sector and hospital system. In addition, physicians offer information that patients can use to make informed decisions about their treatment plan. The work of the physicians are to keep their professional knowledge and skills up-to-date; they also give patients the information they need in a way they can understand. In addition, they are personally accountable for their professional practice and always be prepared to justify their decisions and actions.

Physicians seek for right information in order to manage the patient and work effectively. Quite pertinent is the type of health information needs of the physician and their use for clinical practices. Availability and accessibility of information sources are very important, simply because they require accurate, comprehensive information in order to treat patients effectively and more also the lives of people are in their hands. In other words, access to a wide variety of information is vital to physicians. But few studies have been carried out to find out the information behaviours of physicians working in government hospitals. Specifically, it is pertinent to know the information behaviour and work effectiveness of physicians in Edo state. But since so much has not been done in this area there is the need to fill the gap in knowledge.

The present Edo State was carved out from the then Mid-West region, and then later known as Bendel State. Edo State was created in 1991 out of the former Bendel state which lies roughly between longitudes 060 04’E and 060 43’E and latitudes 05044’ N and 07034’ N. It is bounded in the South by Delta State; in the North by Kogi State and in the East by Anambra State. It occupies a land area of about 17,802 square kilometres (Fafunwa, 1974). From the 1991 census, the state has a population of about 2,159,848. The 2014 population estimate is about 5 million. The main ethnic groups in Edo state are Edos, Afemais, Esans, Owans and Akoko Edos.

Edo State people are agrarian, and they produce rubber, yam, cocoyam, cassava, maize, melon, pineapple, plantain, banana, groundnut and cashew, amongst other crops. The major occupations of these people are farming, trading and fishing. The state is endowed with natural resources such as limestone, clay, crude oil, wood products and aquatic products. Onoriode, Samson and Ankomah (2012) affirmed that the vegetation are made up of mangrove and tropical rain forest in the south and central zones and savannah woodlands in the north. The income levels of the people are low and about 70% of them live below the poverty line. Edo State is divided into 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 192 wards, grouped under three senatorial districts; namely Edo North, Edo South and Edo Central. Among the tertiary institutions in Edo State are the following: University of Benin, Benin City; Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma; Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi; Ekiadolor College of Education, Benin City; School of Nursing, Benin City; University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City; School of Health, Benin City (Agbonlahor, 2002).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Physicians need accurate and relevant information at the right time in order to deal with current and emerging diseases as well as other health related conditions. There is the perception which has been established over the years by personal experience, and those of others, media reports and the visible state of disrepair of healthcare infrastructure that the healthcare delivered in Nigeria is of low quality. Since physicians are major stakeholders in the healthcare delivery system of any nation, they can play a crucial role in reversing the perception that many of the government hospitals in Nigeria are mere consulting centres, a belief that has been reinforced by escalating medical tourism. Specifically, the information behaviour of physicians in government hospitals in Edo State may have contributed to the negative evaluation of government hospitals. The way they gather and use information in their day-to-day duties is a source of concern. Other areas of concern include the physicians’ quality of work delivery and the level of professionalism in their clinical decision-making. It would also be interesting to know if there are significant relationships between information needs, information seeking pattern, sources of information, information access/retrieval, information use and work effectiveness of physicians in government hospitals in Edo State.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study is to investigate the relationship between information behaviour of physicians and their work effectiveness in government hospitals in Edo State, Nigeria.

The specific objectives are to:

  1. Identify information needs of physicians in government hospitals in Edo State, Nigeria;
  2. Find out the information seeking pattern of physicians in government hospitals in Edo State;
  3. Find out the sources of information consulted by the physicians in government hospitals under study;
  4. Find out physicians method of information retrieval in government hospitals in Edo State;
  5. Find out the physicians’ information use in government hospitals;
  6. Examine the work effectiveness of physicians in government hospitals in Edo State;
  7. Ascertain the relationship between information needs of physicians and their work effectiveness in government hospitals in Edo State;
  8. Find out the relationship between information seeking behaviour and work effectiveness of physicians in government hospitals in Edo State;
  9. Examine the relationship between sources of information consulted and work effectiveness of physicians in government hospitals in Edo State;
  10. Find out the relationship between physicians’ information retrieval and work effectiveness;
  11. Determine the relationship between information use and work effectiveness of physicians;
  12. Investigate the composite relationship of information needs, seeking behaviour, sources, retrieval, and use and work
  13. Effectiveness of physicians in government hospitals in Edo State, Nigeria and
  14. Find out the challenges encountered with information seeking behaviour of physicians in government hospitals in Edo State.

1.4 Research Questions

In order to achieve the objectives of this study, the following research questions are posed:

  1. What are the information needs of physicians in government hospitals in Edo State?
  2. What are the information seeking patterns of the physicians in government hospitals in Edo State?
  3. What are the sources of information consulted by the physicians in government hospitals under study?
  4. How do physicians retrieve information in government hospitals in Edo State?
  5. What do the physicians use information for in government hospitals in Edo State?
  6. How effective are physicians in their work in selected government hospitals in Edo state?
  7. What are the challenges encountered with information seeking of the physicians in government hospitals in Edo State?

1.5 Hypotheses

These six hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance.

  1. Ho1: There is no significant relationship between information needs of physicians and their work effectiveness in government hospitals.
  2. Ho2: There is no significant relationship between information seeking pattern and work effectiveness of physicians.
  3. Ho3: There is no significant relationship between sources of information consulted and work effectiveness of physicians in government hospitals
  4. Ho4: There is no significant relationship between information retrieval and work effectiveness of physicians.
  5. Ho5: There is no significant relationship between information used by physicians and their work effectiveness in government hospitals.
  6. Ho6: There is no significant combined relationship of information needs, information seeking pattern, sources of information, information Retrieval, information used and work effectiveness of physicians in government hospitals in Edo State.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This study focuses on information behaviour and work effectiveness of physicians in government hospitals in Edo state, Nigeria. This research is limited to analysing various methodologies of information behaviour are (information needs, Information seeking behaviour, sources, information retrieval, information use) and work effectiveness are( quality of work service, patients information/knowledge management, clinical decision making, and physicians work commitment) of physicians in selected government hospitals in Edo State. The study is restricted to the secondary level hospitals and tertiary level hospitals in Edo State. It is limited only to the physicians’ information behaviour and work effectiveness in making clinical decisions from outpatients, inpatients, and emergency rooms in government hospitals (that is, federal and state hospitals) in Edo state, Nigeria.

1.7 Significance of the Study

There are a number of ways this study would be beneficial to the society. Specifically, it would make positive impacts on the health sector of the economy, especially among physicians in the hospital management boards of Edo State. This is because for physicians to be able to prescribe drugs and manage patients’ cases effectively health information is very important.

In addition, it would create the needed awareness and sensitivity that would ginger hospital management boards to provide good libraries with modern Internet facilities. When physicians and other health professionals are able to access resources both in print and non-print formats with ease improvement in effectiveness and efficiency is bound to occur. Equally significant is the knowledge gap, as a result of the paucity of published works on information behaviour and work effectiveness of physicians in government hospitals in Edo State, which the study is designed to bridge. Healthcare services occupy an important and significant position amongst the decisions made by the government. Health authorities are seeking for an optimal way to improve the quality of healthcare in Edo State. This study would help to meet the need.

Finally, the findings in this study would contribute to the general pool of knowledge of the existing literature on the effectiveness of the physician and their information behaviour generally

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms

In the context of this study, certain terms are either used differently from the daily usage for some clarifications. Hence, their definitions are necessary for a better and clearer understanding of this study.

Information Behaviour:

This is the total behaviour showed by physicians in the process of seeking for information useful to physicians work effectiveness. It also refers to the physician’s information need, seeking, sources and use for clinical decision-making to provide better services to patients and improve quality healthcare.

Information Need:

This can be defined as a recognition that your knowledge is inadequate to satisfy a goal that you have.

Information Seeking Behaviour:

This is all activities involved in purposive seeking for information as a consequence of a need to satisfy some goals. Persons interact with 3 paths when seeking for information: manual information systems e.g. Newspaper or library, computer-based systems such as www and human interaction (asking questions).

Information Sources:

This is where information can be obtained by the physicians, such as books, e-books, journals, e-journals, individuals or interpersonal literature (CD-ROMs), databases and Internet.

Information Use:

This has to do with physicians’ use of information from books and the various sources for clinical decision-making in order to achieve their goals and objectives.


An institution providing medical and surgical treatment and nursing care for sick or injured persons. Government hospital is a health facility, owned by government, where the patients visit whenever they are sick in order to consult with physicians and get treatment so that they could be healthy.


A person trained to practice medicine. Physicians are healthcare workers who treat and assist patients with a variety of problems and they work in three healthcare levels: primary (e. g. family health centres and general practitioners), secondary (e.g. general hospitals) and tertiary (specialist hospitals).

Work Effectiveness of Physicians:

This refers to doing the right thing at the right time. Effectiveness deals with goals achievement. To achieve this, physicians need to have access to available, accurate, information sources and use them in order to accomplish a specific purpose. Work effectiveness is the individual potential contribution in an organization to achieve the organizational or institutional assigned goals.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5. 0. Introduction

The content of this chapter includes a summary of the findings of the research, conclusion and recommendations. It also includes suggestions for further research in addition to the contribution of the study to knowledge.

5.1 Summary

The study focused on health information needs, information seeking pattern, sources of information consulted, information Retrieval method and work effectiveness of physicians, who as medical practitioners, practice in government hospitals in Edo State. The general objective of the study was to investigate the interactions among the above-mentioned variables in light of the information behaviour and work effectiveness of the respondents. The descriptive survey design, which involves observing and describing the behaviour of a subject without influencing it, was adopted.

The population is made of physicians in secondary and tertiary level hospitals and it consists of 623 physicians working in selected government hospitals in Edo State. Using total enumeration method to cover one specialist and five general hospitals in Edo State a total number of 623copies of questionnaire were administered to the respondents but only 516 (82.8%) were returned which were subsequently analyzed. Cronbach Alpha Coefficient was used to determine the reliability of the instrument. The content validation of the instrument and reliability test was carried out. Reliability coefficient for each section of the instrument was 0.73; 0.87; 0.86; 0.99; 0.88; 0.84; and 0.76 with combined average of 0.86 for sections B, C, D, E, F, G, and H respectively.

The responses to the questionnaire administered were analysed using frequency, percentages, mean and standard deviation. In addition to these, the inferential statistical tools of analysis, that is, simple correlation (Pearson Product Correlation Method) were also used.

A summation of the major findings is presented as follows:

  1. The major health information needs of physicians in government hospitals in Edo State include information on treatment and tests of patients which includes information on the spread of particular diseases.
  2. The information seeking pattern of respondents uniformly consists of electronic sources, printed textbooks/journals as well as consultations with colleagues/experts in the field.
  3. Sources of information consulted by physicians include medical texts, colleagues and Internet.
  4. The major challenges facing physicians in government hospitals were ignorance of existing relevant materials, lack of time.
  5. The respondents use CD-ROM (compact-disc read only memory), catalogue and metadata and On-line database to access and retrieve information. But their information retrieval skill is unsatisfactory.
  6. The respondents use information for medical decision makings and make informed decisions on health issues.
  7. On work effectiveness the quality of work delivery in terms of care and individual attention to patients is poor.
  8. There was a significant relationship between information needs of physicians and their work effectiveness in government hospitals in Edo State.
  9. Significant relationship was established between information seeking pattern of physicians and their work effectiveness.
  10. Significant relationships existed between sources of information consulted by physicians and their work effectiveness.
  11. There was no significant relationship between Retrieval of information of physicians and their work effectiveness.
    Significant relationship was established between information use of physicians and their work effectiveness in government hospitals.
  12. Information needs, seeking behaviour and use, when taken together, significantly influenced the physicians work effectiveness, while information retrieval and sources did not.

5.2. Conclusion

The importance of information behaviour of physicians to their work effectiveness has been highlighted in this study. The knowledge revolution made possible by Internet is both a welcome development and a challenge, particularly for the health care profession. Today it is much easier for physicians to access information on practically every area of patient’s care and professional growth than a few decades ago. But there is an aspect of this development that is not too pleasant: the difficulty often encountered in sorting out relevant information, from apparently boundless information source, to meet the specific needs of patients.

Therefore, the physicians would need to deploy their skills to navigate the information highways in order to access and harness the information needed. This would require a proper understanding of the physicians’ information needs, information seeking pattern and the sources of information consulted. The physician, particularly in developing countries like Nigeria, is usually faced with the perennial challenges of financial constraints which impede their work effectiveness. The problem is compounded by lack of time and work overload that could lead to stress and burnout. All this negatively impacts on commitment to organizational goals.

5.3 Recommendations

The findings in this research would necessitate some suggestions that are considered to be appropriate. Therefore, the following recommendations are made:

  1. Physicians in government hospitals in Edo state need to be more pro-active in updating themselves in general medical knowledge instead of just focusing on patient-related treatments and tests. Emerging diseases would make this necessary.
  2. The management of government hospitals should boost their e-libraries or information centres so that physicians would not need to depend on their personal resources or public cybercafés before they can access electronic resources.
  3. There should be a deliberate effort by the physicians in government hospitals to improve the quality of work delivery in terms of care and individual attention to patients.
  4. Management of government hospitals in Edo state should provide incentives in the form of remunerations and better working conditions to enhance physicians’ commitment to organization goals.

5.4 Contribution to Knowledge

The health care industry is evolving fast the world over. Even though medical knowledge is increasing at astronomical rate through information technology this study has contributed to the pool of knowledge in the following ways:

  1. The study has empirically demonstrated that information needs, seeking behaviour and use are major determinants of physicians’ work effectiveness in government hospitals in Edo State.
  2. It has shown through empirical study that information access and sources do not significantly affect work effectiveness of physicians in government hospitals.
  3. This study has contributed to the body of knowledge on information behaviour of physicians and management of patients care through the review of timely and relevant literature.
  4. This study has also contributed to the body of knowledge in Information Resources Management through the conceptual framework created for this study.

5.5 Suggestions for Further Study

Since the scope of this study was limited to information behaviour of physicians as it relates to their work effectiveness in government hospitals the research horizon may be extended to other studies to include:

  1. The Impact of Information Source and Use on Evidence-based Medicine (EBM) in Tertiary Health Care.
  2. The Role of ICT in reducing Diagnostic error in clinical-decision making.

5.6 Limitations of the Study

The major limitation of the study is that the physicians were so busy that it was very hard to meet with them to fill the questionnaire. Also, it is difficult for the physicians to give out information either because of their busy working schedule or as a result of the ethics governing their profession. Another limitation is that the researcher was not allowed to administer the questionnaire in two of the tertiary level hospitals. Similarly, out of the nine secondary level hospitals in Edo State only in five the researcher was allowed to administer the questionnaire to the respondents.

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