Tag Archives: medical libraries

The Value of Medical Libraries and Librarians in Patient Care


A recent JAMA Viewpoint article recaps research indicating that knowledge-based information sources and the services of a medical librarian have a positive impact on clinical decision-making and patient care. The article by Julia Sollenberger MLS, and Robert Holloway MD, MPH of the University of Rochester, identifies library and librarian roles and the value they provide in provision of care and education [1].  A library’s provision of information sources including databases and journal articles and the technology to access them resulted in more informed clinical decisions and changed treatment plans in several studies. Librarian literature searches to answer care questions in clinical settings yielded better results than physician searches in less time. In one controlled study of matched cases, a librarian literature search for evidence on patients presented at morning report was associated with shorter hospital length of stay. Librarian evidence searching on rounds with medical students and residents impacted not only treatment plans but also the trainees own knowledge and skills in finding evidence. Other roles cited include participation in evidence based practice curricula and support of biomedical research.

Librarians and staff at Dana Medical are engaged in many of the activities described in the article. We are evolving as health care, education, and technology change.  October is National Medical Librarians month. The theme this year is “Saving you time so you can save lives.” Let us know how we are doing.

Marianne Burke MLS AHIP
Director, Dana Medical Library