The value of library and information services in patient care: Results of a multisite study

Joanne Gard Marshall, Julia Sollenberger, Sharon Easterby-Gannett, Lynn Kasner Morgan, Mary Lou Klem, Susan K. Cavanaugh, Kathleen Burr Oliver, Cheryl A. Thompson, Neil Romanosky, Sue Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The research conducted a large-scale, multisite study on the value and impact of library and information services on patient care. Methods: The study used: (1) 2 initial focus groups of librarians; (2) a web-based survey of physicians, residents, and nurses at 56 library sites serving 118 hospitals; and (3) 24 follow-up telephone interviews. Survey respondents were asked to base their responses on a recent incident in which they had sought information for patient care. Results: Of the 16,122 survey respondents, 3/4 said that they had definitely or probably handled aspects of the patient care situation differently as a result of the information. Among the reported changes were advice given to the patient (48%), diagnosis (25%), and choice of drugs (33%), other treatment (31%), and tests (23%). Almost all of the respondents (95%) said the information resulted in a better informed clinical decision. Respondents reported that the information allowed them to avoid the following adverse events: patient misunderstanding of the disease (23%), additional tests (19%), misdiagnosis (13%), adverse drug reactions (13%), medication errors (12%), and patient mortality (6%). Conclusions: Library and information resources were perceived as valuable, and the information obtained was seen as having an impact on patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-46
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Medical Library Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Library and Information Sciences


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