Librarians improving patient care in partnership with JPS
By Alex Branch
Patients at John Peter Smith Hospital can expect to be surrounded by a top-notch medical team of not only physicians and nurses, but also librarians.
The presence of UNT Health Science Center clinical librarians at JPS is part of an innovative collaboration to help providers make informed medical decisions.
Two university clinical librarians and a staff member now work in the John S. Marietta Memorial Medical Library at JPS, supplying providers with the newest medical information and sometimes joining physicians on patient rounds. The partnership allows physicians to spend more time actively caring for patients.
“If a physician sees a patient with a rare condition, he or she could take an hour to research the newest and best way to treat it,” said Tim Kenny, UNTHSC Clinical Library Manager at JPS. “Or they can now say to us ‘I need the latest guidelines on treating this condition.’ We run some searches, find the most up-to-date information quickly and the physician did not have to take time away from seeing patients.”
The collaboration, a three-year pilot project that started in summer 2017, combines strengths from both institutions, said Dan Burgard, UNTHSC Executive Director of Library and Informational Services.
JPS has a large, high-quality clinical practice and is the only Level One Trauma Center in Tarrant County. The Gibson D. Lewis Health Science Library has 18 librarians and is one of eight regional medical libraries in the Network of Libraries of Medicine, providing health information in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and New Mexico.
“The collaboration is a win-win for both institutions,” Burgard said. “JPS benefits from our expertise in providing the newest health information, and our librarians benefit from the experience of working closely with JPS’ many talented medical providers.”
Since new medical studies and breakthroughs occur at breakneck speed, UNTHSC librarians host learning sessions to teach providers how to conduct more effective medical literature searches across a variety of databases, indexes and other resources. Librarians also assist with tools such as citation managers and provide support in finding appropriate and reputable publications for submission of research manuscripts.
The librarians’ job also is educational. JPS is the largest teaching hospital in Tarrant County. The information provided by medical librarians to resident physicians — some of whom studied at UNTHSC — is vital to supporting their clinical education, Kenny said.
“We share the information we find, not just with the attending physician but all residents participating in that day’s patient rounds,” Kenny said. “It’s a helpful learning tool.”
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UNTHSC librarians worked to build a new JPS library website that offers vastly improved access to quality medical information, Burgard said. Since January 2018, the library has averaged 1407 visits, 120 article requests and 144 reference questions a month.
Blair, PhD, Lead Data Scientist at JPS, said the medical librarians are a valuable resource to a wide range of providers and researchers.
“The JPS Medical Library works to establish unique and useful research and clinical collaborations across several departments,” Dr. Blair said. “The library team is so helpful.”