Source Publication (e.g., journal title)

Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Information workers, including physicians, nurses, social workers, etc., in rural areas have needs for a wide range of specialized information, but have difficulty getting access to information resources. As part of a rural health education project funded by the U.S. Department of Health and human Services, we studied the information needs of rural health workers in Hawaii and their current means of information access. Barriers to information access included lack of funds, lack of appropriate hardware, infrastructure problems (such as poor telephone lines or no convenient access to libraries), insufficient training in how to use information sources, and insufficient time to spend on information tasks. Only a small percent of those who have computers and modems and knowledge of online resources use them regularly. Recommendations for solving some of their information needs include the development of a rural health information clearinghouse; better identification, training, and exploitation of the specialized services available for health care workers; and, most importantly, the establishment of "rural health care information agents" (modeled on agricultural extension agents) on each major island. The methodology, needs identified, and recommendations are applicable to any rural community.

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