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Undertaking an information‐needs analysis of the emergency‐care physician to inform the role of the clinical librarian: a Greek perspective

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Aim of study:  The primary focus of this pilot study was to gain a better understanding of the information needs of emergency‐care clinicians. The secondary focus was to compare the traditional current practice of information provision within other emergency departments in Greek hospitals, with the new model of clinical librarianship (CL).

Rationale:  Clinical staff in the emergency department deal with a variety of cases, they have no time to visit the library, but need information instantly in their place of work. Clinical decision making in the emergency department setting frequently requires the clinician to obtain additional sources of information and clinical librarians may facilitate this.

Study design:  The present study focused on two professional groups: medical librarians (groupĀ A) and clinicians (consultants, senior registrars, registrars, nurses (group B), working in the emergency departments of two Greek hospitals. The study was organized through a questionnaire survey and some in‐depth interviews.

Results:  This study showed that, for 100% of the clinicians in daily practice, the main information needs arise while treating patients, and that information would help in making patient‐care decisions. Clinicians made little use of hospital libraries because they are usually under tremendous time pressure. The main outcome of the study was the use of a clinical librarian as an information provider. Clinical librarians supply information to assist decisions, based on this model. This extends the librarian's role in evidence‐based medicine, giving much stronger attention to the relevant evidence in clinical practice.

Conclusions:  Nowadays, health services are facing organizational change. The introduction of new technology, and rapid growth of medical knowledge creates a demand for new ways of providing information. Clinical librarian programmes may deliver patients specific information in a timely manner. The mission of the clinical librarian is to facilitate access to quality information which is necessary for improving health, and to act as an informationist in the emergency department.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Library's Director, General Hospital Kat, Athens, Greece

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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