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Evaluation of email alerts in practice: Part 1. Review of the literature on clinical emailing channels

Pierre Pluye, Roland M Grad, Vera Granikov, Justin Jagosh, Kit Leung
Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice 2010, 16 (6): 1227-35

RATIONALE: Methods to systematically assess electronic knowledge resources by health professionals may enhance evaluation of these resources, knowledge exchange between information users and providers, and continuing professional development. We developed the Information Assessment Method (IAM) to document health professional perspectives on the relevance, cognitive impact, potential use and expected health outcomes of information delivered by (push) or retrieved from (pull) electronic knowledge resources. However, little is known about push communication in health sciences, and what we propose to call clinical emailing channels (CECs). CECs can be understood as a communication infrastructure that channels clinically relevant research knowledge, email alerts, from information providers to the inboxes of individual practitioners.

AIMS: In two companion papers, our objectives are to (part 1) explore CEC evaluation in routine practice, and (part 2) examine the content validity of the cognitive component of IAM.

METHODS: The present paper (part 1) critically reviews the literature in health sciences and four disciplines: communication, information studies, education and knowledge translation. Our review addresses the following questions. What are CECs? How are they assessed?

RESULTS: The review contributes to better define CECs, and proposes a 'push-pull-acquisition-cognition-application' evaluation framework, which is operationalized by IAM.

CONCLUSION: Compared with existing evaluation tools, our review suggests IAM is comprehensive, generic and systematic.


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