AIM for Excellence

Improve the metrics you care about: your patients’ experience, the health of your community, and the per-person costs of healthcare.

AIM for Excellence With Information From Medical Librarians

Research demonstrates that librarian-led information services significantly contribute to your institution’s mission: better care, better decisions, cost savings, fewer adverse events.


  • 39% of users of clinical librarian services reported a positive impact on quality of patient care; plus
    • 45% reported that services ensured that interventions were based on best practice or current evidence;
    • 25% reported improvement in patient and staff safety; and
    • 16% reported reduced referral, tests, and readmissions. (Brettle, A,, 2016)
  • 86% of post-study participants surveyed rated their level of satisfaction with the just-in-time information service as having a positive impact on the care they provided to their patients (McGowan, J,  et. al, 2008)
  • 75% said that they definitely or probably handled patient care differently using information obtained through the library (Marshall, JG, et. al., 2014)
  • 88% of respondents on the intervention team reported changing a treatment based on new information skills taught by a librarian, and 79% changed a treatment plan based on a search done by the librarian (Aitken, EM,, 2011)


Notable Research Data

  • In one Veterans Administration (VA) study (8 hospitals) where clinical searches were conducted by librarians, health professionals said about search results:
    • 95%—useful to direct patient care;
    • 89%—reinforced a mode of treatment;
    • 49%—influenced the advice to patient and family;
    • 49%—altered the mode of treatment;
    • 30%—influenced the choice of treatment;
    • 30%—affected the choice of drugs;
    • 14%—influenced the diagnosis. (Jemison, K, et. al., 2009)
  • A study in 118 hospitals with more than 16,122 participants found that
    • 95% reported that information provided by a librarian resulted in better informed clinical decisions
    • 48% changed advice given to a patient;
    • 33% changed the choice of drugs;
    • 25% changed a diagnosis;
    • 23% changed the choice of tests;  and
    • 12% changed post-hospital care or treatment as a result of using resources and services provided by librarians or the library  (Marshall, JG, et. al., 2013)
  • A systematic review of 28 studies demonstrated a range of impacts including:
    • 37-97% impact on patient care;
    • 10-31% impact on diagnosis;
    • 20-51% change in choice of tests; and
    • 27-45% change in choice of therapy (Weightman, AL,, 2005)


  • In a large study across more than 110 hospitals:
    • 13% avoided misdiagnosis and adverse drug reactions;
    • 12% reduced medication errors;
    • 6% avoided patient mortality (Marshall, JG,, 2013)
  • Health care professionals reported benefits as a result of information from search requests in 8 Veterans Administration hospitals:
    • 3% avoided adverse events or complications, while
    • 8% avoided patient mortality (Jemison, K, et. al., 2009)


Notable Research Data

  • Librarian contributions to morning reports led to
    • a decrease in hospital length of stay of 2 days per case; and
  • 85% of respondents reported that information provided by a librarian or through services provided by the library saved them time
    • average time saved was  2.5 hours per person per case (Marshall, JG, et. al. 2013)
  • 12% reported cost savings through reduced hospital length of stay (Brettle, A, et. al, 2016)
  • A systematic review of 28 studies indicated a 10-19% reduction in length of patient stay (Weightman, AL,, 2005)
  • Librarians locate information more quickly and less expensively than clinicians, freeing up healthcare providers’ time so they could focus on patient care.
    • On average, librarians provided responses to questions 6.61 minutes more quickly than health professionals;
    • the average salary savings per search was $13.60 minimum for librarian searches. (McGowan, J, et. al, 2008)


Aitken, EM, Powelson, SE, Reaume, RD, & Ghali, WA (2011). Involving clinical librarians at the point of care: results of a controlled intervention (full text). Academic Medicine, 86(12), 1508-1512.
DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31823595cd

Banks, DE, Shi, R, Timm, DF, Christopher, KA, Duggar, DC, Comegys, M, & McLarty, J (2007). Decreased hospital length of stay associated with presentation of cases at morning report with librarian support (full text). Journal of the Medical Library Association, 95(4), 381-387.
DOI: 10.3163/1536-5050.95.4.381

Brettle, A., Maden, M. and Payne, C. (2016), The impact of clinical librarian services on patients and health care organizations (full text). Health Information and Libraries Journal, 33: 100–120.
DOI: 10.1111/hir.12136

Jemison, K, Poletti, E, Schneider, J, Clark, N, Stone, RD (2009), Measuring Return on Investment in VA Libraries (abstract). Journal of Hospital Librarianship, 9:379-390.
DOI: 10.1080/15323260903253803

Luther, J (2008). University investment in the library: What’s the return?:A case study at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (UIUC).

Marshall, JG, Morgan, JC,  Thompson, CA, Wells, AL, (2014), Library and information services: impact on patient care quality (abstract; see your medical librarian for full article). International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 27(8):672 – 683
DOI: 10.1108/IJHCQA-10-2013-0119

Marshall JG, Sollenberger J, Easterby-Gannett S, et al. The value of library and information services in patient care: results of a multisite study (full text). Journal of the Medical Library Association,101(1):38-46.
DOI: 10.3163/1536-5050.101.1.007

McGowan, J, Hogg, W, Campbell, C, & Rowan, M (2008), Just-in-time information improved decision-making in primary care: a randomized controlled trial (full text). PLoS One, 3(11), e3785.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003785

Tenopir, C (2010). Measuring the Value of the Academic Library: Return on Investment and Other Value Measures (full text). The Serials Librarian, 58:39-48.
DOI: 10.1080/03615261003623005