A Few Highlights FromThe International Clinical Librarian Conference

Though I entered a wee bit late, I did catch most of “Starting from Scratch: Establishing a Role for An Informationist On Rounds”. A topic that was put together by the combo of Alison Aldrich and Stephanie Schulte. The inherent challenges an Informationist would/could face undertaking such an enterprise were quite transparent. We could see the nuts and bolts such as archiving articles from rounds for resident to access, to including the best search strategies for clinicians to evaluate. However, what stuck out most to be was becoming acclimated to the culture and pace of going on rounds. 

I don’t think that’s a small protocol. In fact, I think that could be quite an eye-opener. As you’re rolling along at a new pace, I can easily see how all the various “drive-bys” (yesssss, I know it’s not like picking up fast food) could seem a bit intimidating. Witnessing patient evaluations on the fly is not the same as configuring search strategies in the privacy of your own particular cyber-realm. Real life is always more than we bargain for, I would imagine that rings especially true in hospitals.

Joan Bartlett gave us “The Impact and Information Services on Patient-Care Outcomes – A Canadian Perspective.” Joan stated that “Libraries save lives,” and then set out, along with her trusty value survey, to prove it. Through her stats a connection was made between how library business impacted the work of clinicians. ACTUALLY, truth be told………

Jane Surtees, a UK Librarian, dovetailed right into much the same territory. From a theoretical perspective. Jane’s “Converting Care To Currency:  The Impact of UpToDate on Test Avoided, Length of Stay, Time Saved, and Referrals Prevented in a Large UK Acute Hospital Trust” — reported on the value of a much-publicized resource, UpToDate (cue the boo and hissing) to show how the usage of UTD could save a plethora of hospital-related issues. Jane’s research looked at cost-effectiveness, accessibility of data, and tests avoided by patients (this last one came up BIG in terms of $$$$ saved). While the audience reactions seemed to focus on the UpToDate villainy, it’s worth mentioning that these studies didn’t represent the entire “book” on what UTD can or can’t deliver. But no fights broke out, and the bloodletting was kept to a minimum



3 thoughts on “A Few Highlights FromThe International Clinical Librarian Conference

  1. A message from one of the ‘blood letting’ librarians, by the name of Jacqui LeMay, UHCW NHS Trust, UK Jacqui.lemay@uhcw.nhs.uk . Those of us who have worked on the clinical front line for more than a decade know only too well that clinicians like narrative reviews. But have we forgotten amongst all the marketing hype and our need to feel valued that giving people what they want isn’t necessarily good for them. Have we also forgotten that the evidence hierarchy is based on systematic reviews and primary research not narrative reviews.
    You can give your child sweets when they want them. A quick fix, a happy smiley face. It will save you the time it takes to buy wholesome food, prepare it, cook it, display it lovingly on a plate, encourage them to eat it and then wait for them to digest it in order for them to grow. But in the long term, which is healthier, which is going to develop their brains?
    I have all these sweets in my library, but I hand them out in moderation. I want my juniors to develop their brains from many nutrients, to digest the evidence, to nurture their skills and gain knowledge.
    My Boston Red Socks curve balls are growing in number as take home messages:
    -1 information is not knowledge
    -2 evidence based practice is about the patient not the clinician – it deserves respect
    -3 quality and patient safety hang out with knowledge. Information and haste need to fall back in line
    -4 Boston Strong
    Respectfully, yours

  2. I attended the International session on Monday. Jane Surtees presented her data on the use of UpToDate in Medicine. During the Q&A session that followed, a member of the audience stood and attacked Ms. Surtees not for the content of her work, which was excellent, but because she had chosen to study what is an unpopular resource in the library world. While it’s impossible to control the behavior of attendees, it was glaringly apparent that the moderator of the session lacked the training and experience to mitigate the uncomfortable turn of events. MLA should act immediately to ensure that such vitriolic attacks are appropriately handled. Ms. Surtees had considerable difficulty attending the MLA conference; her participation was in question right up until she flew. I hosted Ms. Surtees in my home during her stay in Greater Boston to help defray some of her travel costs in attending. I was, therefore, witness to her considerable distress after the session. I believe she felt unwelcome at MLA as a result of the interaction. Also, adding insult to injury, after the fact, the official MLA blog reported inaccurately on Ms. Surtees’ study design. Ms. Surtees should at very least receive an apology from MLA for a poorly handled situation. I was deeply embarrassed that a colleague, especially one from another country, had such a negative experience, and in all my years of professional librarianship, I have never seen such unprofessional behavior all the way around. Please act to prevent such occurrences in the future, and please act quickly to offer Ms. Surtees appropriate condolences for a conference that has left a very bad impression on a top-notch colleague.

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