In shared health decision-making, cooperation in the patient-doctor relationship is fundamental. However, lack of health literacy may act as a significant barrier in this process. Patients are expected to make decisions even though they are in an uneven position in terms of knowledge (Bernabeo & Holmboe, 2013; McMullan, 2006). In our research we examined the information seeking behaviour of doctors, their views on cooperation with their patients, and the role that information consultations play in shared decision-making. Our study involved a survey of 162 private general practitioners and private pathologists in Greece. We collected demographic characteristics and self-assessments of doctors using a five point Likert scale. We used the Kruskall-Wallis non-parametric test for the analysis of the relationship between demographics and the importance assigned to information consultations. Doctors reported that they used both electronic and interpersonal sources for diagnoses, treatment, and updating their knowledge. The barriers they experienced included lack of time, the cost of access, and the difficulty of finding information, confirming previous research in this area (Davies, 2011). Most doctors considered the cooperation of their patients as important for decision making (mean=3.69) and improving the overall clinical outcome (mean =4.19). Most agreed that they relied on patients to further developing their own information literacy (IL). Doctors expected their patients to consult health related publications they directed them to in the form of print materials (mean=3.59), medical Internet websites (mean=3.81), or the website/Facebook page of their general practice (mean=3.20). However, there was a statistically significant difference when age was factored in. More than half of the more experienced doctors (above 60 years old, 55,1%) did not share the same positive views on cooperation and did not direct their patients to different information sources. It was mostly the younger doctors who took advantage of the Internet as a health consultation tool. Doctors between 40-55 years (97%) directed their patients to articles published on medical websites, while using the website/Facebook page of the general practice was more prevalent in doctors younger than 40 years old (90%). This paper argues that doctors form the main information literacy (IL) pillar for patients as they are their first port of call for their healthcare decisions. But not all doctors are ready and willing to offer information prescriptions that will help advance their patients' IL empowerment to be able to identify and use quality health information independently for their evidence-based and informed decision-making. Title listed on conference website as The Value of Information Related Practices in Patient-Doctor Relationships.
MARTZOUKOU, K., KOSTAGIOLAS, P., BOUNTOURI, C. and NIAKAS, D. 2016. The participatory medicine attidutes of general practitioners in Greece: an information behaviour perspective. Presented at the 4th European conference on information literacy (ECIL 2016), 10-13 October 2016, Prague, Czech Republic [online]. Available from: http://ecil2016.ilconf.org/monday-10th-october-afternoon-session/