Creating evidence? Do it right! Talk to your librarian!

Systematic reviews are very important because many clinical guidelines and standard clinical practices are informed by and/or based on them. There is ample literature assessing the quality of systematic reviews across many disciplines, and a common theme that has emerged from a number of these studies has been the need for improving the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews. Two studies by Rethlefsen et al. (2015) and Meert et al. (2016) have looked at and compared systematic reviews with and without a librarian as co-authors. Both studies have found that having a librarian as part of the team correlated with a higher quality of reported search strategies in general internal medicine and pediatric systematic reviews respectively.

  • Rethlefsen ML, Farrell AM, Trzasko LC, Brigham TJ. Librarian co-authors correlated with higher quality reported search strategies in general internal medicine systematic reviews. Journal of clinical epidemiology. 2015 Jun 1;68(6):617-26.
  • Meert D, Torabi N, Costella J. Impact of librarians on reporting of the literature searching component of pediatric systematic reviews. Journal of the Medical Library Association: JMLA. 2016 Oct;104(4):267.

An Embedded Librarian: What it could mean to health care professionals

Indiana Hand to Shoulder Center has introduced an embedded librarian position as part of the research team that attends the morbidity & mortality and difficult problem sessions. These sessions are designed for specific, difficult, and complicated cases in which the patient is examined by multiple doctors and fellows, followed by a discussion of treatment options. The advantages of having the librarian as an integral part of the research team are to reinforce evidence-based practice by preparing literature reviews, create Google Scholar Alerts for individual clinicians, and introduce developing technologies and online access to non-traditional resources. This is not the first and only example of an embedded librarian program in the health care setting.

  • Brahmi FA, Kaplan FT. Embedded librarian as research team member. The Journal of hand surgery. 2017 Mar 1;42(3):210-2.

Literature searches reduce hospital length of stay

A case-control study by Banks et al (2007) has reported that literature searches guided by the librarians are an effective means to reduce hospital length of stay (LOS). In this study, a librarian participated in the case discussions (n=105) at the residents’ morning reports (MRs) and conducted literature searches. This activity resulted in a reduction of LOS compare to the time that the cases were not discussed at MRs (3 days vs. 5 days, P < 0.024).

Banks DE, Shi R, Timm DF, Christopher KA, Duggar DC, Comegys M, McLarty J. Decreased hospital length of stay associated with presentation of cases at morning report with librarian support. Journal of the Medical Library Association: JMLA. 2007 Oct;95(4):381

Show YOU the Money!!

In a study by McGowan et al (2012), the cost-benefit analysis of librarian consultation services in primary care (a sample size of 88 primary care providers in the Ottawa region)  was conducted. The authors found that those physicians who received the literature searching service, required on average 13.6 min to ask their clinical question to be answered by a librarian; whereas, the control group required 20.29 min (on average) to search the question themselves. The authors proposed “nationally if this service was implemented and if family physicians saw additional patients when this service saved them time, up to 61,100 extra patients could be seen annually”. In addition, they conducted a cost avoidance using this service. For more information visit

  • McGowan J, Hogg W, Zhong J, Zhao X. A cost-consequences analysis of a primary care librarian question and answering service. PloS one. 2012 Mar 19;7(3):e33837.

Teach evidence-based practice like a pro!

Are you responsible for Health Professions Education? Do you want to teach evidence-based practice like a pro? Consider partnering with a clinical librarian.

In a study published in Academic Medicine in 2011, the impact of a clinical librarian program in health professions education was evaluated (Aitken et al, 2011).  In an internal medicine unit of a large, tertiary care teaching hospital in Calgary, Alberta, a clinical librarian accompanied a team of residents, clerks, a pharmacist, and attending physicians for morning intake clinical rounding, or an afternoon patient list review for six-months. The librarian provided immediate literature searches, formal group instruction, informal bedside teaching for use of pre-appraised resources and evidence-based practice search techniques. On the other hand, there was a control group with an identical structure to the intervention group, working on the same group of patients but with no librarian assistance. The clinical librarian program positively improved the trainees’ information-retrieval skills, their attitude toward working with a librarian, as well as enhanced informed clinical decision making when the intervention and control groups were compared.

  • Aitken EM, Powelson SE, Reaume RD, Ghali WA. Involving clinical librarians at the point of care: results of a controlled intervention. Academic Medicine. 2011 Dec 1;86(12):1508-12.

How do medical librarians make a difference?

Let’s celebrate the Medical Librarians Month by reviewing two studies led by Joanne Marshall (1992 & 2014) demonstrating the value of the library &  information services in clinical care.

The first study, conducted in the Rochester, NY area, demonstrated that the Medline searches requested by physicians and residents (sample size of 448) had substantial influences on clinical decision making and patient care outcomes.  The top three aspects of care impacted by this service were advice given to the patient (72%), choice of tests (51%), and choice of drugs (45%). The information provided by the library was also rated more highly than other information sources (e.g. diagnostic imaging, lab tests, and discussions with colleagues).

The second study used a critical incident survey of 6,788 nurses at 118 hospitals. Nursing practice was positively impacted by using the service. The nurses reported consistent improvements in changing the advice given to patients, handling patient care differently, avoiding adverse events, and saving time.

  • Marshall JG. The impact of the hospital library on clinical decision making: the Rochester study. Bulletin of the Medical Library Association. 1992 Apr;80(2):169.
  • Marshall J, Morgan J, Klem M, Thompson C, Wells A. The value of library and information services in nursing and patient care. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. 2014 Aug;19(3).

Library Link: October 2019

Hello Library Linkers!

Welcome to our new edition of Library Link! In this transitional phase of our library service’s we’ll be trying out a few new ideas for our monthly newsletter. Keep an eye out these next few months to see our new looks!

Thanks so much!

Library Link october 2019

Library Link october 2019


As always if you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to reach out to