ICLC 2: Emerging Roles for Health Librarians and Finding New Information in Novel Places

I walked back to my hotel room after dinner and passed the farewell gathering of librarians partying to “Disco Inferno”, that ‘70s hit. While they were letting their hair down, I was thinking about what to write about for this blog post. This afternoon’s session was about medical and clinical librarians finding new ways to reach their constituents, be it students, clinicians or other health care groups. Many of these groups are either early adopters of technology (using iPods and smart phones for which there is no tech support available) or thinking they have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to organizing and accessing patient data or providing patient information. Librarians know about organizing data and were early adopters of standardized terminology. It was heartening to hear about Margaret Henderson’s involvement in the I2b2 project (Informatics for Integrating Biology and the Bedside www.i2b2.org), a project that fosters clinical research by harvesting and de-identifying patient data. Mark MacEachern and Lydia Whitman both talked about effective use of technology for students via an elective course (MacEachern) and clinicians via a small iPad trial with preloaded apps (Whitman). Julie Esparza had an interesting presentation about where and how consumer health was being provided. Public library partnerships are not uncommon in the US. This is something I would like to do back at home in Melbourne Australia with our local councils. I didn’t know that EMRs have the ability to connect to online patient information, and it is positive news that this feature is being activated. A positive step towards improving health literacy! A special mention for a brilliant first presentation goes to Lydia Whitman who charmed the audience with humour and wit (a photo of a clinician with a specially made iPad pocket!) while giving an informed presentation. Well done!