Introduction At the information centre of the Emma Children’s Hospital AMC paediatric patients, parents, relatives, healthcare professionals and other persons involved with the patient can ask questions about all aspects of disease and social subjects. This is important because sufficient information has positive effects on coping with disease and medical results.
Objective To evaluate the question/answer service, what kind of questions are asked, how frequently and by whom, which information sources are the most appropriate for the service and the time it takes and to what extend we are able to answer questions.
Methods A case management system was developed in MS Access. Information content areas of all questions and used information resources are registered. Also, characteristics of the requester are registered (parent, patient, healthcare professional, other), if a question was answered (fully, partly, not) according to the employee and according to the requester and the time it took to answer a question.
Results In 2007, 1434 questions were asked. Most questions were asked by parents (23.3%). Most frequently asked questions include disease (19.6%) and treatment (12.5%). About 90% of questions could fully or partly be answered. Paper information sources mainly from other organisations were the most used information sources.
Conclusions Despite provision of information by their physician or other healthcare professionals and despite access to information on the internet, parents in particular want more and more thorough information about all aspects of disease.
The information centre of the ECH anticipates this information need with relatively simple resources.