The Value of Library and Information Services in Patient Care: Canadian Results From an International Multisite Study
AbstractIntroduction: This paper presents the Canadian results from a larger, international study with the objective of assessing the value of health library and information services and their impact on patient care. Methods: Data were collected using a web-based survey of healthcare providers in 13 Canadian hospitals collectively served by four libraries, and data were analyzed statistically using SPSS. The survey centred on a specific, recent, patient care incident for which the respondent had sought information. Follow-up semi-structured phone interviews with librarians at the participating sites provided supplemental data. Results: Twelve hundred and thirty-one people from the Canadian sites responded to the survey. Over 70% indicated that their management of the clinical situation changed as a result of the information. Positive changes included advice given to patient or family (48%), choice of drugs (31%), and choice of treatment (30%); adverse events that were avoided included patient misunderstanding of disease (23%), additional tests or procedures (18%), and patient mortality (5%). Results also showed which information resources were used and from where they were accessed. The information resources were valued as much, if not more, than other sources of information such as laboratory reports or medical records. Discussion: The results showed that participants perceive health library and information services to be highly valued and reported that their use has a positive impact on a range of patient care outcomes. They also highlighted the preferred information resources and access points among different groups of health professionals.
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