Bethesda EP group celebrates its third birthday

Cara Breeden has let us know that the Bethesda Medical Libraries Emergency Preparedness Partnership (BMLEPP) held its third annual meeting on August 20 at Suburban Hospital.  Quoting from Cara’s message:  “At this yearly meeting, which is the extent of time required, members make any needed updates to the procedural and contact information contained in their BMLEPP reference binders.  The Partnership is intended as an agile solution to problems member libraries might encounter, such as extended power outages.  Even though it has not been necessary to acticvate the BMLEPP memorandum of understanding (MOU) to date, the Partnership has proved to be a valuable, and a low-maintenance effort.”

Cara also notes that the Bethesda, MD area “is unique in that it boasts five medical libraries within walking distance of each other:  the National Library of Medicine, the National Institues of Health Library, the Suburban Hospital Medical Library, the National Naval Medical Center Stitt Library, and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Learning Resource Center.  The five libraries initiated the Bethesda Medical Libraries Emergency Preparedness Partnership (BMLEPP) on February 14, 2008.”

Cara has sent us the current version of the MOU  which these five libraries have enacted, and it will be available for use as an example on the “Model MAA/MOU” page here in the Toolkit.  Many thanks, Cara!

BMLEPP Members

10 Steps in Manhattan

The “10 Steps” roadshow visited the Middle Atlantic Region (MAR) of NN/LM at New York University’s medical center on Monday and Tuesday this week.  While our number was small, the quality of the feedback we received and the ideas that were generated were excellent.  Kate Oliver, Associate Director of the MAR, and her staff welcomed us for updates and the 10 Step “train the trainer” session on Monday, then a special session on Tuesday, working with two of their EP state representatives, Sue Ben-Dor and Mary Lou Glazer, on developing Pocket Response Plans for hospital libraries.  We benefited from learning about possiblilities for networking and support in MAR, and we hope the session created some interesting ideas for follow-up by MAR members.  Thanks to Kate and her staff for their hospitality, and we look forward to hearing great things from MAR this year.

Big Progress in North Carolina

Thanks to an award from the NN/LM Southeastern/Atlantic (SE/A) Region, two state coordinators for North Carolina, Melanie Norton and Susan Hardee, organized an emergency preparedness program entitled, “It’s the Big One, Elizabeth!”  Helping NC Hospitals Plan for Information Access Following a Disaster. The event was held at two sites (Raleigh and Charlotte) over a two-day period, and featured Dan Wilson teaching “A 10-Step Approach to Service Continuity Planning” and Dr. Barbara Bisset, Executive Director of the Emergency Services Institute WakeMed Health System.  Following lunch, participants worked on developing a state-wide mutual aid agreement.

Dan Wilson’s Slides

Hospital Librarians Summit in Chicago–April 21

Now that the dust has settled from the flurry of spring activities for the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness & Response Plan team, here is a brief summary of the Hospital Librarians Summit that was held in Chicago on April 21 with excellent results.  Fourteen hospital librarians from across the country, half sponsored by the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness & Response Plan and half by the eight Regions of NN/LM,  attended the day-long meeting at the Library of the Health Sciences at the University of Illinois/Chicago.  The meeting was hosted by the Greater Midwest Region of the NN/LM, with arrangements provided by Ruth Holst, Associate Director.  Each of the eight NN/LM Regions was represented, most by two hospital librarians and an emergency preparedness liaison from the NN/LM staff in each region.  Participants received an overview of NN/LM’s Emergency Preparedness Plan, and the resources that exist for assisting librarians to develop and implement emergency preparedness plans, then heard presentations about the activities of NLM’s Disaster Information Research Center (DIMRC).  In the afternoon, David Esterquest, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, Ruth University Medical Center, spoke to the group about hospital emergency preparedness, how roles are established and how communication functions, as well as how hospital librarians can assist and develop roles with their hospitals for emergency preparedness.

As a result of break-out sessions that were part of the meeting, here are highlights of discussions about the roles hospital librarians can play in emergency preparedness and response:

         offer library space (e.g. community crisis center, communications center, day care)

         work in evacuation shelters, bringing books and needed reference materials

         aid other institutions in disaster area to help salvage damaged collections

         collection managers of disaster-related resources

         information facilitators to public and health care professionals/communicate with public library

         internal planners with hospital administration (let managers know what librarians can do in a disaster)

         government partners (e.g. internet access to fill out FEMA forms)

         bibliographic searches to public and health care professionals

         host sessions on emergency preparedness—invite speakers and bring in experts

         assist with grant writing

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?