Patient safety in hospitals is a topic important to everyone, but it can be difficult to understand all of the issues involved. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Patient Safety Network provides a series of Patient Safety Primers to guide people through key concepts in patient safety: http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primerHome.aspx
There are over 20 Primers available. Some of the topics are:
Adverse Events after Hospital Discharge: Nearly 20% of patients experience an adverse event in the first 3 weeks after discharge, including medication errors, health care–associated infections, and procedural complications. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=11
Checklists: Though a seemingly simple intervention, checklists have played a leading role in the most significant successes of the patient safety movement, including the near-elimination of central line–associated bloodstream infections in many intensive care units. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=14
Diagnostic Errors: Thousands of patients die every year due to diagnostic errors. While clinicians’ cognitive biases play a role in many diagnostic errors, underlying health care system problems also contribute to missed and delayed diagnoses. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=12
Disruptive and Unprofessional Behavior: Popular media often depicts physicians as brilliant, intimidating, and condescending in equal measures. This stereotype obscures the fact that disruptive and unprofessional behavior by clinicians poses a definite threat to patient safety. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=15
Error Disclosure: Many victims of medical errors never learn of the mistake, because the error is simply not disclosed. Physicians have traditionally shied away from discussing errors with patients, due to fear of precipitating a malpractice lawsuit and embarrassment and discomfort with the disclosure process. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=2
Nursing and Patient Safety: Nurses play a critical role in patient safety through their constant presence at patient’s bedside. However, staffing issues and suboptimal working conditions can impede nurses’ ability to detect and prevent adverse events. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=22
Wrong-Site, Wrong-Procedure, and Wrong-Patient Surgery: Few medical errors are as terrifying as those that involve patients who have undergone surgery on the wrong body part, undergone the incorrect procedure, or had a procedure intended for another patient. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=18
Patients also have a part to play in ensuring that they have safe healthcare, as described in the following Primer:
The Role of the Patient in Safety: Efforts to engage patients in safety efforts have focused on three areas: enlisting patients in detecting adverse events, empowering patients to ensure safe care, and emphasizing patient involvement as a means of improving the culture of safety. http://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer.aspx?primerID=17
Public libraries play an important role in the community year round, but during or after an emergency or disaster the public library is also an important resource for first responders. Public libraries provide important information centers in a community and are often equipped with computers, meetings spaces, and possibly access to the internet. After an emergency or disaster first responders working with their community public libraries can provide safe shelter spaces for survivors. In addition, public library technologies including computers, phones, printers, and internet access may serve as vital communication tools for survivors and first responders.
The video below was created by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Center Region (NN/LM SCR) to demonstrate how public libraries and first responders can work together to ensure community well-being and safety before and after a disaster or emergency.
This week is National Library Week: April 14 – 20, 2013. The theme for this year’s observance is “Communities matter @ your library.”
Public, school, and academic libraries are busier than ever serving the people in local communities. They help people fill out job applications, provide homework assistance to students, offer public access to the Internet, assist small businesses in conducting research, and much more. Yet libraries face funding crises in many communities. Without proper funding, libraries are forced to decrease or cut resources, reduce the number of librarians and library workers, and reduce hours of operation. Even worse, some libraries face closures.
The National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region (NN/LM SCR) is pleased to introduce online applications for many of our most popular funding opportunities. Nine different award types now have online application options. Applicants for these awards may review all guidelines on the NN/LM SCR Funding Opportunities page and then click on the “apply online” link where they will find the online application for the award.
The NN/LM SCR Online Applications Portal is powered by Submittable. Users will be asked to create an account or link Submittable to their Facebook account to log on. Creating an account with Submittable will provide online applicants with the ability to save and return to a draft of the application before making the final submission. Users can also upload attachments or supporting materials (Word, PDF, Excel, and images) to their application. The online system also allows users and the NN/LM SCR to promote the award opportunities through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.
Traditional downloadable applications are still available for all awards. Either form of application will be accepted for review.
The NN/LM SCR is pleased to announce the latest round of funding opportunities:
Disaster Preparedness Award ($10,000):
The purpose of the Disaster Preparedness Award is to help libraries prepare for disasters so that they can assist their communities with health information and other recovery needs after an emergency. Approaches can include, but are not limited to, activities that will integrate the library into their community’s emergency preparedness, response and recovery plan; equipment that will allow the library to have more flexibility in responding to the Internet needs of the community; and partnerships with city emergency planning groups, hospitals, public health organizations to enhance health information access in library settings.
Electronic Consumer Health Outreach Award($25,000):
The goal of this award is to connect health professionals, their patients and the general public to the health information resources from the National Library of Medicine. This solicitation will focus on projects designed to improve access to electronic health information for such groups and organizations as consumers, the underserved and minority health care professionals, public health workers, public libraries, and community-based and faith-based organizations.
Express Outreach Award ($5,000 per project):
The purpose of the Express Outreach Award is to support a wide range of outreach projects aimed at improving access to and use of the National Library of Medicine’s databases to improve access to health information.
Health Disparities Information Award ($5,000):
The purpose of the Health Disparities Information Outreach Award is to support a wide range of outreach projects aimed at improving access to and use of the National Library of Medicine’s databases by populations which experience significant health disparities, including, but not limited to minority, rural and other medically underserved populations.
Health Information Literacy Award ($5,000):
The purpose of the Health Information Literacy Award is to support Network member projects, particularly those from community-based organizations (CBOs), faith-based organizations (FBOs) and other organizations that serve minority populations, to develop innovative and creative ways to promote health literacy to these target populations.
Health Information Needs Assessment Award ($5,000):
The purpose of the Health Information Needs Assessment Award is to improve health information outreach through increased knowledge of community needs. Thorough needs assessments serve to analyze community needs in depth, with respect to the community’s cultural, social, economic and physical situations. This award is designed to give organizations an opportunity to study a community in detail and to subsequently design strategies that promote the National Library of Medicine’s databases.
Hospital Library Promotion Award ($5,000):
The purpose of this award is to support projects that promote the value of the hospital library to the hospital administrators and staff. As hospitals expand their services and programs, hospital librarians can play a significant role in areas such as: education and training to address knowledge management, clinical information systems, patient safety programs, electronic health records, health literacy, or patient education.
Library Student Outreach Award (funding will cover all costs related to meeting attendance):
The award provides funding for students to attend the South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association (SCC/MLA) Annual Meeting in Fort Worth TX and participate in meetings, conference sessions and other activities designed for them to learn about the importance of health information outreach and services conducted by librarians in the South Central Region.
Mobile Applications Project Award ($8,000):
The purpose of the Mobile Applications Project (MAP) Award is to provide an opportunity for Network members to provide outreach services and increase access to health information by utilizing mobile technologies. Projects may target health professionals, public librarians, public health workers, consumers, or the general public.
Professional Development Award($1,500 per event):
The purpose of this award is to enable individuals at NN/LM SCR Network member institutions to expand professional knowledge and experience to provide improved health information access to healthcare providers and consumers.
Technology Improvement Award ($5,000 per project):
The Technology Improvement Project (TIP) Award is intended to improve access to and increase use of free high quality health information including National Library of Medicine’s databases. It is designed to meet the health information needs of “underconnected” communities and increase access to health information services within the community.
See the NN/LM SCR Funding page for more information and for deadlines.
Share Your Story: The Importance of Being a Team Player
At a previous job, I was not funded to go to MLA for many years until one year when my boss administrative assistant left. In the VA it often takes a while for positions to be filled and this was one of those times. My boss was the Associate Chief of Staff for Education and as such had responsibility for paying residents, determining who was going to be paid for travel, etc. He asked me if I would consider doing the most important things that needed to be done. Because I had a technician who could handle the day to day work of the library I agreed. I still did the searches, and all the administrative things but I spent several hours a day in my boss’ office. I learned a lot about what he did and even learned how to use Excel – my first time to really use it. He saw that I was a team player. As a reward (though it was not put that way), when I requested funding for MLA, I was given it. Because I had gotten funding that year, I usually received at least partial funding for the remainder of the years that I was at that facility.
Share Your Story: LSU Shreveport Health Sciences Library
What’s the value of the LSU Health Shreveport (LSUHS) Health Sciences Library? It’s priceless! Our librarians always find new ways to serve the institution and the community. Through a NNLM funded award, our librarians designed a program to educate children about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, reaching about 1,500 children so far. The program consisted of:
A website with health information, games, and activities for children selected by LSUHS librarians.
Story hours at local libraries and an area science museum that have so far focused on nutrition, exercise, germ prevention, heart health, and sun safety. Librarians select and read the stories, and develop companion activities and support materials.
Regular promotional displays (“Wellness Wednesday”) at local libraries to raise awareness about healthelinks.org and other sources of reliable online consumer health information.
The Clinical Medical Librarian (CML) at LSUHS rounds with Internal Medicine in the hospital five days a week. Every day, the CML:
Reviews cases in the electronic medical record system for unusual microbiology, pathology, or radiology reports in an attempt to preempt faculty and resident information needs;
Provides literature for use at the point of care and provides literature reviews for follow-up questions;
Finds consumer health information for patients.
Her work at LSUHS was the topic of the study “The Effect of a Clinical Medical Librarian on Internal Medicine Care at LSUHSC-S.” The study tracked her efforts from June 2008 to November 2009, when her team saw 2200 patients, and she answered 334 questions, 58 of which directly changed the physician’s care of a patient (unpublished data), on 258 unique patients.
Whether it is treatment changing information provided by the CML or teaching children about healthy food and exercise, the LSUHS librarians provide a variety of valuable services to the institution and community.
Public libraries are struggling, not just financially but also to maintain relevancy in the digital age. With that in mind, the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) Gibson D. Lewis Health Science Library Deputy Director Lisa M. Smith began collaborating with the North Texas Regional Library Partners in 2010.
The goal: Deliver in-person classes on online health literacy to patrpons and librarians within our 24-county NN/LM SCR outreach region. The classes would not only help public libraries in rural and urban areas offer programming to their patrons but they would also offer staff training on how to resond to queries involving health. The classes also would help market public libraries as digital hubs that the public can turn to when looking for reliable health information. North Texas Regional Library Partners and library staff members, and 31 members of the general public at 18 public libraries spread over nine North Texas counties in March contacted the libraries and set up the class dates and times. Lisa Smith and Outreach Librarian Jessie Milligan taught 81 public librarians in April, 2011.
Classes for patrons showed them how to evaluate websites as well as how to find reliable health information online through NLM/NIH websites. The separate classes for librarians served as guides on why to turn to NLM/NIH websites when answering reference questions about health.
Health Literacy has been defined as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions” (Healthy People 2010). Yet, millions of Americans have difficulty with reading and understanding basic health information, such as interpreting over-the-counter drug labels and reading a chart to determine a child’s immunization schedule.
Founded as a grassroots initiative in 1999 by Helen Osborne, Health Literacy Month is a time for organizations and individuals worldwide to promote the importance of understandable health information. Since its beginning, there have been hundreds of awareness-raising events held across the U.S. and around the world.
To spotlight this observance, 2011 marks the 2nd Annual Health Literacy Month Series on the blog Engaging the Patient. This year, the series features a roster of national experts (including academics, clinicians and noted writers) to blog their own takes on the challenges of health literacy in America. New content will be posted every weekday during October.
More about Health Literacy and Health Literacy month can be found at: