Objective: To assess the effects of librarian-provided services in healthcare settings on patient, healthcare provider, and researcher outcomes.
Materials and methods: Medline, CINAHL, ERIC, LISA (Library and Information Science Abstracts), and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched from inception to June 2013. Studies involving librarian-provided services for patients encountering the healthcare system, healthcare providers, or researchers were eligible for inclusion. All librarian-provided services in healthcare settings were considered as an intervention, including hospitals, primary care settings, or public health clinics.
Results: Twenty-five articles fulfilled our eligibility criteria, including 22 primary publications and three companion reports. The majority of studies (15/22 primary publications) examined librarians providing instruction in literature searching to healthcare trainees, and measured literature searching proficiency. Other studies analyzed librarian-provided literature searching services and instruction in question formulation as well as the impact of librarian-provided services on patient length of stay in hospital. No studies were found that investigated librarians providing direct services to researchers or patients in healthcare settings.
Conclusions: Librarian-provided services directed to participants in training programs (eg, students, residents) improve skills in searching the literature to facilitate the integration of research evidence into clinical decision-making. Services provided to clinicians were shown to be effective in saving time for health professionals and providing relevant information for decision-making. Two studies indicated patient length of stay was reduced when clinicians requested literature searches related to a patient's case.
Keywords: Librarians; Library Services; Medical Informatics; Systematic Review.
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