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

J Med Libr Assoc. 2013 Jan;101(1):38-46. doi: 10.3163/1536-5050.101.1.007.


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.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Information Seeking Behavior
  • Information Services / standards*
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Library Services / standards*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care*
  • Physicians