Advancing the Standard for Service Continuity

Recently, Dan has made two presentations, as an invited speaker, that featured the importance of service continuity planning for libraries, and in both cases he used the scenario of social distancing in response to the H1N1 influenza virus (see info from the CDC) as a basis.  Some experts are warning that H1N1 may re-surge in the northern hemisphere early this fall, well before the tradional flu season, so it’s important that we remain aware of the potential risks from a more widespread epidemic than we have seen so far, and that we keep the banner of service continuity moving forward.

On July 9, Dan addressed the monthly conference call hosted by NLM’s Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC), giving an overview of this year’s activities of the NN/LM’s emergency preparedness initiative, and featuring the Hospital Librarians Summit which was held in Chicago in April (click here to see the posting about this).  Other highlights of this year have been conducting training meetings with NN/LM staff and state coordinators in the PNR, SCR, GMR, PSR and SE/A regions, enhancing the Toolkit, and developing promotional materials.  Several participants on the call confirmed that the training has been very effective so far, and “buy-in” from NN/LM members has been excellent.

On July 17, Dan addressed the annual Interlibrary Loan Forum of the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) at Sweet Briar College in Lynchburg, VA.  Working from the NN/LM’s emergency preparedness plan, which emphasizes service continuity, especially for Interlibrary Loan services, Dan presented the procedures that have been established through a partnership between the Health Sciences Libraries at the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for providing back-up ILL services for each other in an emergency, and which are transparent to library users.  While the audience represented all types of academic libraries in Virginia, it included several who are NN/LM members.  Click ILL Backup Plan VIVA to see Dan’s slides from the VIVA Forum.

If you would like more information about the ILL backup plan between the two libraries or about training for service continuity, please contact one of us (see the “About Us” tab at the top of the page).

DIMRC web resource

The Disaster Information Research Center (DIMRC) of the National Library of Medicine’s Specialized Information Services division has produced a comprehensive web resource for health professionals including the Federal Response, International Resources, Genetic Sequence Information, PubMed Searches, Veterinary Resources and Información en Español:  “Enviro-Health Links–Swine Flu”

AHRQ resources for swine flu response

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a department of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has produced “Tools and Resources for Influenza Preparedness”  in response to the current evolving situation regarding swine flu.  There is much information here for public health facilities, hospitals and other emergency management planners, based on the ongoing research of AHRQ.  Check it out!

CDC Info on Swine Flu

The CDC is updating this site http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/ frequently at this point, in order to help everyone stay current with the swine flu situation.  See the “CDC Health Advisory” on this page for the most current information.  I heard on NPR today that Mexico has closed churches, schools, concert halls, and other public spaces to try and slow the spread of the disease.  Should these social-distancing measures be enacted for public spaces, including libraries in the U.S., be aware of measures that libraries can take to keep resources and core services available to their patrons even if their buildings are closed.  Have an alternate home page ready, to show altered hours, to highlight online resources, and to offer online chat services to patrons who need help.  Also remember to change the voice mail message on your library’s main telephone to reflect changed hours and availability of online resources and services.

Here is more information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, available on their Pandemic Flu web site:  http://www.pandemicflu.gov/  The Swine Flu Info widget from HHS is available there to be copied into web pages–this will provide quick access to “Information,” “Investigation,” and “What you can do” sources.

HealthVault: Secure, Online Storage for Health Info

Microsoft has released a new software and services platform, HealthVault, to help people store and manage their health information online, as well as search for health information.  This looks like an excellent resource for use by people in disaster-prone areas, such as hurricane and tornado alleys.  Keeping health-related records “off-site” through a service such as HealthVault would enable people who are suddenly displaced to retrieve information about prescriptions, medical records, etc. from anywhere.  We know, from the lessons learned courtesy of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, that many people who were forced to evacuate were not able to remember the names of their medications in many cases, recalling only the color and the number of pills they usually took.

Could promoting this be a role for librarians, especially in hospital settings?