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November 2003, Week 3


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Medical Libraries Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 18 Nov 2003 10:15:55 -0600
Lorri Zipperer <[log in to unmask]>
Lorri Zipperer <[log in to unmask]>
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***Excuse cross posting****

Thanks to all the list members who responded to our survey on the role
of librarians in patient safety in May of this year. Jan Sykes and I had
the pleasure of presenting our findings at the Wisconsin Patient Safety
Institute last week and the clinician response was very supportive. So
much so, in fact, that one meeting participant went straight away to
call her librarian and invite her to a strategy meeting to be held the
morning after the conference!

We found both strengths and weaknesses in the current situation--which
should surprise no one on these lists. From this limited sample, there
appears to be a broad spectrum of awareness and participation in patient
safety initiatives by the library community.  On one end of the
spectrum, there are information professionals who are proactively
engaged in patient safety efforts-in one instance, updating hospital
policies and procedures to reflect the latest practices in patient
safety. Activity on Root Cause Analysis teams and literature searches as
an established part of all patient safety initiatives were also
highlighted.  On the other end of the spectrum, some librarians search
for and provide information about patient safety only when it is
requested, see little role for themselves in this area and are not
actively encouraged by leadership to directly participate in safety

Through our poster we generated quite a bit of interest in looking at
librarians as team players in patient safety. Participants found it
innovative and new. Questions fielded had to do with the librarian's
role in clinical decision support, the role of clinical librarianship
and selection of evidence-based medicine tools.  Many kind words were
heard from clinicians at institutions with libraries; but response when
we asked was that rarely were librarians thought of as being players in

Our experience underscored the value of talking about what we do in
environments we typically aren't showcased at to sensitize them to the
issues at hand.

Jan and I know that further study is required for a deeper understanding
of the actual role of information professionals with respect to patient
safety and perceptions regarding the interplay between information
professionals, organization leadership and patients. Jan and I hope to
do another survey that will be more robust and valid once funding is

Lorri Zipperer, Cybrarian
Zipperer Project Management: Helping Experts Excel
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847-328-5075 (phone and fax)

"everyone has to be his own leader, on his own sled."
Joseph Beuys