Librarians and patient safety

PSQH: “In order to learn whether librarians and information professionals have expanded their involvement in patient safety, the 2007 survey again asked respondents to choose from a list all of the activities in which they participate. In the 2003 survey, only four persons (of 174 total respondents) indicated they had no role in patient safety activities. In 2007, four persons (of 318 total respondents) indicated they had no role in patient safety activities. In 2007, 82.4% of the survey population responds to ad hoc inquiries on patient safety. As in the 2003 survey, this activity ranked first of all the options offered. More than half of persons who responded are also involved in documenting best practices for patient safety from the literature (68.55%), providing targeted alerts on patient safety issues to staff (57.23%), and creating resource guides for patients and practitioners (52.52%).” – During my time as a critical care pharmacist at Community Regional Medical Centers from 2001 – 2006 I spent a fair amount of time in the library researching this and that. Frequently I had to enlist the help of the medical librarian and we soon became friends. Besides being an excellent resource for information, he and I spent quite a bit of time discussing ways to better access and present pharmacy related information. He was a big believer in centralized storage and retrieval of reference material. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were discussing a cloud model. His insight into situations pertaining not only to medical literature, but to patient care was invaluable. He and I have moved on with our careers, he to the VA and me to my current position at KDDH, but I will always remember the value he added to the overall patient care model. I therefore find it all too easy to believe that medical librarians have become an integral part of patient safety initiatives.

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