Supporting Your Information Needs During COVID-19

By David Lightfoot, Information Specialist

SARS CoV 2/COVID19 has stretched the capacity of healthcare systems around the globe, not just with numbers of patients, but the sheer novelty of the virus. As the disease spreads faster than research, communication among researchers is vital. Unity Health Toronto Health Sciences Library staff take our roles in this seriously, and while our doors are closed, we are busy as ever in our remote locations.

Our supporting role began when we were asked to compile news stories for the Unity Health Command Centre as part of their daily briefing. Members of the Command Centre team are given statistical updates, including a short a précis of Canadian and international news. The Library also opened a new Twitter account dedicated to following key policy makers—Canadian Health Ministers, politicians, the CDC—and set up automated Google searches.

Since then we have been approached by Unity Health staff and physicians to answer questions on more than 20 different topics related to COVID-19 that have informed decisions on patient care, including updating directives and procedures, and best practices.

At the same time, publishers around the globe have opened up access temporarily to ensure that the transfer of knowledge about SARS CoV2 is fast and reliable. Our job is to make sure the staff of Unity Health is aware of these resources.

COVID-19 resource guide prepared by the Health Sciences Library

COVID-19 resource guide prepared by the Health Sciences Library

We created a COVID-19 online resource guide comprised of curated information and tools to support all Unity Health staff and physicians for patient care, research, and policy development. This guide promotes the popular point-of-care tools UpToDate (now open access and free for all for April 2020) and Dynamed, as well as dozens of pre-print publications. The guide is continuously updated daily as new information evolves or is made available. It also provides users with pre-built PubMed searches and filters to save time and speed the work of others.

Please take advantage of these resources and contact us with your information needs and inquiries, and reach out with any opportunities for collaboration to support the evidence-based information needs of you, your team, and your care practices.

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