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RTI Research Spotlight: Librarian-Led Research Identifies Barriers to Library Referrals from Clinical Care Teams and Suggests Solutions

In a recent article published in Hypothesis, Liz Kellermeyer, AHIP, Tucker Medical Library, National Jewish Health, Denver, CO, has explored the factors affecting clinical care team referrals to the medical library. The medical library is a unique resource for patients, offering librarian-mediated searches on specific health topics, guidance on finding authoritative health information, and help finding provider-recommended literature. While patients may find out about library services through a variety of sources, direct referrals from patients’ clinical care teams are of particular interest. This study, a survey distributed to clinical care providers at National Jewish Health, looked into the reasons care teams did or did not refer patients and what influenced those decisions.

The results suggest that a lack of knowledge, rather than lack of interest or support, results in lower clinic referrals to the library. The results also showed that clinical care teams value and trust librarian services and want to refer patients to them. To further facilitate this relationship, librarians should increase collaborative efforts and direct marketing to clinical teams. Exploring streamlined referral systems, such as those that incorporate electronic health records may be an advantageous way to work within already existing structures.

* Liz Kellermeyer, AHIP, is a fellow of the 2018 MLA Research Training Institute (RTI), and this project was the focus of her research. The RTI project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (RE-95-17-0025-17).

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