Librarians as Essential Members of Patient Care Teams

Librarians can and should be indispensible members of clinical care teams, according to a viewpoint article published in a recent issue of JAMA.

The article's authors, a University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center librarian named Julia F. Solenberger and a URMC physician, Robert G. Holloway Jr., MD, based their commentary off of a study published early this year in the Journal of the Medical Library Association which found that 75 percent of caregivers reported handling patient care differently because of information retrieved from library resources. Approximately 95 percent of those who handled care differently said they believed they had made a positive improvement in care.

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In their article, the pair cites many other studies demonstrating improvements in patient care, healthcare quality and safety and physician efficiency as a result of information access and education facilitated by librarians.

Because of the changing landscape of health information and health information technology, librarians are vital now more than ever for educating clinicians and assisting them with finding relevant evidence for particular cases or institutional initiative, according to the authors. Librarians create efficiencies in health information that are hard to achieve through other means, the authors argue.

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