Evaluating the Impact of Literature Searching Services on Patient Care Through the Use of a Quick-Assessment Tool


  • Ashley Farrell
  • Jeff Mason




literature searching, survey


Objectives: To evaluate the impact of literature searching services on patient care, and to create a validated quick-assessment tool to be used by other libraries to assess their own literature searching services. Methods: All users of the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region Health Sciences Library who requested a literature search for the purposes of patient care were emailed a link to a short survey as a preamble to search results sent using LibAnswers. A reminder was sent one week after the initial invitation. Responses were collected using FluidSurveys. Face and content validation of the survey were conducted with prospective respondents, librarians, and research support staff followed by a short pilot phase to assess reliability. Results: Fifty-four responses were received for a response rate of 57.5%. Immediate impacts of the information provided included confirming, changing, or determining a diagnosis (7.1%) or treatment plan (64.3%); avoiding adverse events (9.5%); and preventing (4.8%) or initiating (2.4%) a referral or consultation to another department. Future uses for the information provided include changing the approach to particular (27.8%) or future (55.6%) patients, sharing with colleagues (68.5%), and teaching (42.6%). Conclusions: Libraries do effect change in patient care. It is possible for hospital libraries to assess the impact a service such as literature searching has on patient care without requiring a major time investment from library users. Librarians in similar settings are encouraged to further validate and use this tool to more easily compare the impact hospital libraries have on patients.




How to Cite

Farrell, A., & Mason, J. (2014). Evaluating the Impact of Literature Searching Services on Patient Care Through the Use of a Quick-Assessment Tool. Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association Journal De l’Association Des bibliothèques De La Santé Du Canada, 35(3), 116–123. https://doi.org/10.5596/c14-030



Research Articles