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Health Library Return on Investment Study

*Health library study indicates $9 return for every dollar invested*

A study released today suggests that hospitals, government departments, associations and other organisations involved in healthcare gain a $9 return for every dollar they invest in health libraries.

Health Libraries Inc (HLInc) and Health Libraries Australia (ALIA HLA, a national group of the Australian Library and Information Association) commissioned award-winning firm SGS Economics and Planning to survey health libraries across the nation and from this to assess the return on the annual investment in these services to their organisations.

The results provide a snapshot of the continued outstanding value of health libraries against a backdrop of significantly greater usage but declining investment. Patient and medical staff numbers and hospital expenditure are increasing, while health library budgets, space and staffing levels are decreasing. HLInc chair Jane Edwards and ALIA HLA convener Ann Ritchie said, ‘The investment in library and information services is small in the scheme of things – just 0.1% of recurrent expenditure in Australian hospitals. The report suggests that a modest increase in spending would allow for significant incremental benefits.’

The indicative finding of $9 for every $1 invested is likely to be even higher. SGS assessed the benefits provided directly to health library users, including time saved and value of ‘out-of-pocket’ expenses  such as journal subscriptions. However, the user focus of the study omitted the return on investment in terms of patient care, and SGS said ‘it is highly likely that the benefits of industry libraries outweigh their costs considerably’.

This economic value assessment supports the findings of the ALIA/HLInc /Questions of Life and Death, an investigation into the value of health library and information services /report, published last year. Library//and information service users were asked how they believed their use of the service over the last year had helped them – 83% said it had helped them improve health outcomes for their patients and 76%//said it had changed their thinking and improved their diagnosis or treatment plan.

The full report “Worth every cent and more: an independent assessment of the return on investment of health libraries in Australia” with supporting materials can be found here http://www.alia.org.au/news/2124/australian-health-libraries-return-investment.

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