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Title Improving Usage of Pediatric Information on the Internet: The Virtual Children's Hospital
Author(s) Donna M. D'Alessandro and Clarence D. Kreiter
Source Pediatrics Vol. 104 No. 5 November 1999, p. e55, Vol. 104, No. 5, Pages 1-5
Publication Date Nov. 1999
Abstract Objective. Digital health sciences libraries (DHSLs) bring order to the chaos of the Internet by making authoritative medical information easily and conveniently available to patrons. The goal of this project was to perform a baseline usage analysis of the pediatric-related information in a general DHSL and to determine whether reorganization of the pediatric-related information into its own pediatric DHSL could increase the usage of the pediatric-related information.

Methods. From March through August 1997, a baseline analysis of a general DHSL (Virtual Hospital) was conducted using computer server log file analysis programs. The quantity of pediatric-related information in the general DHSL and its baseline usage were determined. In September 1997, the pediatric-related information was reorganized into its own pediatric DHSL (Virtual Children's Hospital), and server log file analyses were conducted of the pediatric DHSL from September 1997 to August 1998. Statistical analysis was performed by time series autoregression.

Results. During the baseline, the general DHSL and the pediatric-related information received a monthly average of 2 320 782 and 141 444 qualified hits, respectively. After the intervention, the general DHSL and the pediatric DHSL received a monthly average of 2 765 454 and 256 998 qualified hits, respectively. This is an increase of 19.2% for the general DHSL and 81.7% for the pediatric DHSL. These changes were statistically significant at the P > .0001 level. The most requested pediatric-related content in the pediatric DHSL did not change substantively from preintervention to postintervention.

Discussion. On the Internet, as in real life, children's services must have their own distinct identity and must be differentiated from adult services. Therefore, pediatric-related information will receive increased usage if it is part of a pediatric DHSL rather than part of a general DHSL. Others can use this process and the lessons learned to develop and enhance their own pediatric-related information on the Internet. Internet, pediatrics, digital health sciences libraries, digital library, medical library. .


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