In my library school health sciences information course, I wrote my final paper for that class about a potential role for medical librarians as navigators for patients and their families during their hospital experience.  Part of the impetus behind this paper was my own experience using my librarian skills to help patient families calling the switchboard at Seattle Children's Hospital, where I worked at the time.  I saw an alignment between our skillsets and those required of patient navigators: the ability to communicate complicated concepts in simple ways, a mental flexibility that allows for a broad understanding of the medical environment, and an aptitude for quickly getting our bearings when confronted with complex systems.

JMLA has published a few articles on this topic over the years, in 2014<>, then again this past April<>.  I get excited every time I see one of these pieces, but as time has passed, I haven't seen any actionable uptake of what, to me, looks like a great idea.  STAT News has an article today<> that signal boosts the important role of patient navigators - a PCORI-funded study is now studying their value - and it has a relevant quote: "We don't yet have all the answers about the value of patient navigators. It isn't clear, for example, who makes the ideal navigator. Many programs use nurses or social workers, but spiritual care providers (also known as chaplains), or even former patients may also be a good fit."

I wanted to scream: "What about librarians?!?!?"

I rashly considered for a moment emailing the author of the article to get her thoughts, but thankfully common sense prevailed, and instead I decided to come to you, #medlibs, and get your thoughts.  First: are librarians currently being utilized as patient navigators in any healthcare systems, even in an unofficial capacity?  (Answers to this question may crossover with Sue Stigleman's "side work" post earlier today)  Second: if not, what are some of the reasons you think that healthcare systems are resistant to implementing librarians as patient navigators?

Maggie Ansell, MLIS
Nursing and Consumer Health Liaison Librarian
Health Science Center Libraries
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL
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ORCID: 0000-0003-1653-3816<>