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Health Sciences Librarians Impact in the Hospital Setting

An illustrious panel of representatives from the Consumer and Patient Health Information Section (CAPHIS), the Hospital Library Section (HLS), the International Clinical Librarians Conference (ICLC) and the Leadership and Management Section (LMS) addressed a well-attended Special Content Session highlighting the importance of patient safety and decreased readmissions in hospitals.  The role of the Health Sciences Librarian is more critical than ever in this time of decreased or no reimbursement based on avoidable readmissions, meaningful use requirements, and information-driven consumers who utilize a variety of search engines to make their health care decisions.

Panel members included Mary-Kate Haver (moderator), Judy Carol Stripling, Tara Douglas-Williams, Sarah Sutton, and Karen Keller.  Sarah Sutton highlighted several key resources that focus on the the importance of the librarian to positive clinical outcomes and on patient care quality.  The MLA Research Imperative Task Force looks at how research can help librarians show their value to patient outcomes.  A new website "Medical Librarians Matter" presents a listing of current studies on the value of libraries and librarians.  Karen Keller described how Cook Children's joined the Solutions for Patient Safety national initiative to utilize evidence-based research and literature searching to reduce hospital acquired conditions.  Last year the librarians were asked to join the Readmissions Committee to research patients who were at high-risk for readmissions before and after in-patient or emergency room visits.  The Committee made recommendations which included the use of topic-based information packets.

All of the material presented by the panelists emphasized the importance of evidence-based literature and librarians on positive patient outcomes resulting in reduced hospital readmissions, lower healthcare costs, and an improved quality of life for patients.

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