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Highlights of the NN/LM PSR Summer 2012 Questionnaire!

We extend our thanks and appreciation to everyone who participated in the recent RML questionnaire! We received nearly 140 responses, with information and valuable feedback that will enable us to continue to improve our programs and services to meet the needs of Network members. Overall, we were encouraged to see results suggesting that our work does make a difference for health sciences librarians and information centers in the region. Two illustrative examples include over 91% of respondents agreeing that the RML helped them obtain access to information resources, and more than 97% agreed that the RML makes them aware of relevant regional activities.

Following are additional highlights and themes from this year’s questionnaire, along with our plans for future activities to address the needs expressed.

NN/LM PSR Communication Tools

The RML provides information and announcements through multiple channels, as was noted by a number of respondents. To differentiate among them, The Latitudes Newsletter provides in-depth feature articles of professional interest; the monthly Midday at the Oasis Webinar presents a variety of featured speakers highlighting topics of interest, such as NLM resources; the NewsBits Blog provides brief announcements, upcoming event information, and technology tips; and the PSR-News announcement list keeps Network members apprised of breaking developments from the National Library of Medicine, funding opportunities, and other notices. The survey results showed that all these communication channels are useful and relevant. For example, 89% of respondents find useful information in Latitudes, and 83% of respondents use Midday at the Oasis to gain professional skills and knowledge. To help you keep up with the content of the Latitudes and NewsBits blogs, we announce titles of all postings on a monthly basis.

In addition to these traditional communication channels, we have joined the world of social media! In 2011, the NN/LM PSR Facebook Page debuted, with the goal of providing another avenue to reach the Network with relevant information and announcements on important issues. In addition to some unique content, all listings from Latitudes and NewsBits appear on the Facebook page. It is also a place to post pictures of new library facilities, share success stories at your institutions, and discuss professional issues and questions with colleagues from throughout the region and beyond. To harness the power of this medium, all you have to do is “Like Us!”. In addition, we are soon planning for the official launch of the NN/LM PSR Twitter Feed. We will use Twitter to highlight new information resources that you can use in research and teaching activities. To take advantage of this communication tool, all you have to do is “Follow Us.”

Changing Times, Changing Roles

Changing times mean changing roles and responsibilities for health sciences librarians in every setting. More than half of respondents indicated that their job duties had expanded or changed within the past 12 months. Although some respondents indicated that they were experiencing challenging settings, others indicated that they have taken advantage of the changing environment to accept increased responsibilities or develop new and innovative approaches to library services, in areas such as in-depth research assistance, in-person and online research training, online reference services, social media marketing of library programs and services, and working with various hospital and academic committees. If you are interested in sharing your experience with new and changing roles with your colleagues during a Midday at the Oasis session, please contact PSR Educational Services Coordinator Kay Deeney.

Library Advocacy Efforts

A related theme that emerged from the survey responses was library advocacy and how the RML can support efforts to communicate the value of libraries and librarians to administrators. In response, we plan to begin with efforts promoting MLA’s Vital Pathways project, which has the central mission of gathering and reviewing data trends regarding hospital libraries, and developing an action plan to use this information to influence hospital decision-makers. Extensive information about this project is available from the Vital Pathways Symposium, published in the October 2009 issue of the Journal of the Medical Library Association. Another resource demonstrating the value of hospital libraries is the Rochester Study, written by Joanne Marshall and published in the April 1992 issue of the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association. An update of this study is currently being conducted in the Value of Library and Information Services in Patient Care Study, which includes 56 library sites serving 118 hospitals. Results of this study have been submitted for possible publication in the JMLA in 2013. A complete list of participating libraries, including four in the Pacific Southwest Region, is available on the study’s web site.

Opportunities with EHR/EMR Systems

The majority of survey respondents (79%) work at institutions with electronic health/medical records (EHRs/EMRs) or with plans to implement an EHR/EMR in the near future, and we received many comments expressing interest in learning more about providing information resources through these systems. A major information resource related to this area is the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus Connect service, which links patient diagnosis, medications, and lab tests in the EHR/EMR with the most relevant consumer health information in MedlinePlus. PSR Consumer Health & Technology Coordinator Kelli Ham is currently serving on a nationwide NN/LM task force to determine the roles health sciences librarians can play with MedlinePlus Connect. Kelli will keep you apprised of task force developments, as work progresses in the coming months.


Pie chart result of the question Does your institution use an EHR or EMR system


E-Science – What does it mean for you?

Following the E-Science Day event last December at UC Davis, many respondents indicated that they are interested in learning more about what E-Science means for them, and what E-Science roles they might take on in their institutions. We will follow up on these comments with articles in Latitudes and guest speakers at Midday at the Oasis, to provide further background and present ideas showing the relevance of E-Science for any institution, regardless of size.


Pie chart result for the question is there a role for the rml to support your work with e-science


Again, thanks to all the participants in our 2012 Summer Questionnaire for helping us shape our programs and services to better meet the health information needs of the 21st century. In the coming months, watch for us to roll out more online training sessions, professionally relevant announcements, and other resources, as we forge ahead together with exciting new roles and responsibilities in research, EHR information systems, E-Science, and consumer health!

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