The Impact of the Clinical Informationist

Session: Monday 1.30pm – 3.00pm ICLC1 : Quality Assurance for Clinical Librarians, Informationists and Embedded Librarians

Alison Aldrich of The Ohio State University was the first to present and spoke about how a Clinical Informationist role was established at the University Medical Centre. Her tips were practical and I wish she had been around when I was a newbie to share gems such as don’t expect to be introduced, master the elevator speech and act like you belong (aka fake it ‘til you make it). She highlighted the issue of resident (or in UK parlance, junior doctor) burnout. She advised archiving articles from rounds for doctors to access later. This is a service recently introduced at my hospital and our new CEBIS (Clinical Evidence Based Information Service) ICT system provides staff with a platform to access these articles by linking from the electronic patient record. She recommended sending only the best articles and including the search strategy for the rest. In May, 2012 a survey was carried out to ascertain the impact of the Informationist. 22 respondents included residents, students and staff from rounds. The majority of staff agreed that the Informationist allowed them handle a clinical situation differently than they would have otherwise, saved them time, provided new knowledge and was accurate, relevant and current. Alison found it useful to tie the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) standards to her work. She plans on developing evaluation strategies for ACGME milestones of clinical education and believes that this approach will help overcome cultural challenges at the Medical Centre. She and her colleague Stephanie Schulte Education/Reference Service Coordinator also of Ohio State University, intend on rolling it out to other services at the medical centre.

Victoria Goode Clinical Informationist at Welch Medical Library at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine presented a survey she had carried out to investigate the value of both the Informationist and library services. Survey participants were faculty, fellows, house staff & residents in the Johns Hopkins schools of medicine, nursing and public health. The Critical Incident Technique (CIT) was used in her research. Victoria went through the main findings of the survey and discussed how the information was used to improve the services.

The final speaker was Rachel Walden Project Manager at the Eskind Biomedical Library at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre. She gave an overview of the collaborators and their responsibilities in her institution’s Clinical Practice Committee. Their aim is to “inform and standardize” evidence-based practices. A typical research process was detailed and then an example was given of a question relating to preoperative chest x-ray. AMSTAR and AGREE were the instruments used by Rachel to appraise systematic reviews and guidelines respectively. Choosing Wisely recommendations were consulted. This is an interesting resource which I had not encountered before and will be adding it to my list of online bookmarks.

From an international perspective, these sessions provide insight into the clinical informationist role in the US. It is useful to be able to compare and contrast their practice with my own and learn how and where improvements may be made. Thanks to all for sharing and I hope to follow your development in the future.