Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] Engage with McGovern Lecturer Prior to MLA 14

From the Krafty Librarian blog (May 2014)
Engage with McGovern Lecturer Prior to MLA 14

It is crunch time and I know everybody going to MLA 14 in Chicago is scrambling to tie up lose ends at work or for Chicago.   But as you go over your schedule for MLA you might want to check out the McGovern Lecturer, Dr. Aaron Carroll’s blog or his Facebook page. Dr. Carroll has invited MLA members and attendees to begin a conversation with him in advance of the annual meeting on topics of interest by posting on his blog, friending him on Facebook, following him on Twitter, or emailing him.

For his lecture, Dr Carrol will be addressing issues on the Affordable Care Act and health care policy.  His blog, “The Incidental Economist: Contemplating health care with a focus on research, an eye on reform,” is “mostly about the U.S. health care system and its organization, how it works, how it fails us, and what to do about it.”  Dr Carroll is one of the Editors in Chief of the blog which also has several contributors who have “professional expertise in an area relevant to the health care system” as researchers and professors in health economics, law and other health service areas.

The Affordable Care Act and its impact on libraries and how librarians can help hospitals deal with certain aspects of it is a bit of a interest for me.  I have taught several classes to library groups in the past year about librarians can better align their goals to that of the hospital.  Since many hospitals goals are now focused around parts of the Affordable Care Act it makes sense that medical libraries develop strategies to support their institution’s Affordable Care Act goals.

For example…How can the medical library help the hospital

  • Prevent readmissions
  • Increase focus on preventive care
  • Improve patient satisfaction
  • Deal with Meaningful Use (not exactly ACA but very entwined)

Depending on the focus of the library or librarian, we might be able to help more than we or our administration realize.  Here is what some libraries are doing already…

  • Partnering with IT or CIO to provide evidence based medicine resources within the EMR
  • Partnering with IT or CIO to make sure that order sets are based on best available evidence
  • Embedded librarians rounding with patient care teams to help provide necessary information for patient care
  • Help provide patient education documents and information and make them accessbile to patients through the patient portal
  • Work with doctors to provide a prescription for health information to the patient through the EMR

Not only is it important the librarians do these things to help their institutions (BTW no one librarian can do it all but they should be doing something) achieve their goals, but it is equally important that we need to be MEASURING our impact.  If we don’t measure it, it didn’t happen.  Measuring can be tricky but it is necessary, especially if you want to keep your library and your job.  Gone are the days where you can say I did 103 MEDLINE searches for doctors and that helped them treat patients.  Really? How do you know those MEDLINE searches helped them? Did you ask what became of the search? Did you track how your information was being used?  All you know is that you did 103 searches. You don’t know whether that was a benefit to the institution or not.  We assume it was, but administration doesn’t assume anything.

I am looking forward to hearing Dr. Carroll speak.  But before I see him at MLA, I am going to try and start to engage with him to find out what we librarians can do to help our institutions deal with the ACA and make our ourselves more valuable to the institution.  I encourage everyone else to do the same with their own thoughts and questions prior to MLA.

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May 6, 2014 Posted by | Librarian Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Reaching Out in Rural Tennessee: Librarian Helps People Live Better Lives

From the 1 November 2013 NLM in Focus article

For Rick Wallace, health science librarian and professor at Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University (ETSU), community outreach encompasses the entire state.  He travels thousands of miles across Tennessee each year bringing vital health information to those in need, especially in rural communities.

“I love getting out from behind a desk and traveling to rural communities where people need health information,” he says.

In recognition of his singular dedication to the rural underserved, the Friends of the National Library of Medicine named Wallace the recipient of the 2013 Michael E. DeBakey Library Sciences Outreach Award. The national honor is bestowed annually on a health sciences librarian for outstanding service to rural or underserved populations and is presented at the 2013 FNLM awards gala.

“Being a health science librarian is a very personal thing,” says Wallace. “There’s a lot of technology out there now and it’s real easy to just sit in your office and tell people about the latest app. But for me it means getting out there and being involved in the community.

Richard Wallace at outreach event“I want every rural hospital and health center to have access to quality health information, to know how to search PubMed databases, use document delivery tools like Loansome  Doc, and feel comfortable browsing MedlinePlus for consumer health information. They’re the best in the world, all part of the greatest biomedical library in the world, the National Library of Medicine.”

Wallace began his calling in health sciences at the University of Tennessee, Memphis Health Sciences Library, working in circulation, in 1987, before finally finding his way to ETSU in 1995.

Over the years, he has seen the medical librarianship position become more tenuous as large corporate hospitals acquire smaller local hospitals, consolidating them and eliminating library positions. “One of my biggest challenges now is selling the vision of the health science librarian as essential in the information age. There is such a push to cut everything that is not mandated. It can be tough to get some of these big medical institutions to recognize the value of a health science librarian.”

Wallace has spearheaded projects that have taken him back and forth across Tennessee. One such is “A Simple Plan,” which offers instruction in consumer health information for public librarians. For more than six years, Wallace and his assistants traveled thousands of miles annually training public librarians, distributing over 1500 articles over the last 17 years,  and building relationships with some 40 rural hospitals and clinics, helping them obtain grants and pointing the way for rural public health departments to provide remote access to health information.

Wallace and his group also have shaped consumer health information programs for Hispanic farm workers, high school students, elderly patients and staff in nursing homes, and cancer patients. They have trained caregivers, religious leaders, and others to use health information tools. They’ve distributed smartphones, tablet computers—complete with clinical software—and other mobile devices to some 300 Tennessee clinicians.

For example, working with the Migrant Health Program for Rural Medical Services, Inc. (RMS), in Parrottsville, TN, which operates one of five primary care clinics in the state and provides primary healthcare to migrant farm workers in East Tennessee, Wallace initiated and helped write a series of grant proposals that brought NN/LM funding for innovative health education programs.

One grant brought community theater actors to the migrant camps to demonstrate good health practices for diabetes, perinatal care, and other topics. The grants also facilitated production of Spanish-language videos on prenatal care, and funded purchase of laptop computers and printers for Migrant Health Program educators, enabling them to access health information during home visits to the underserved.

Wallace also led a team on several Remote Area Medical (RAM) expeditions to provide free medical, dental, and vision care and information to more than 2,500 of the working poor.

Lucretia W. McClure, MA, of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the National Library of Medicine, lauds Wallace as “an active and integral contributor in serving rural and underserved members of Tennessee for almost 20 years.” She notes, “He has reached thousands of people and raised almost a half a million dollars in grants that have contributed to the betterment of overall health in rural Tennessee.”

Says Wallace, “A lot of the things we do are simple, but they make a difference. We try to make an impact; to help people make good medical decisions. I’d like to be remembered as only one of the mighty army of health professionals who helped people live better lives.”

By Thomas Conuel, NLM in Focus writer 



November 4, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , | Leave a comment


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