Do Top Hospitals Have Libraries?

This idea has been bouncing around in my head for a while and I have tweeted about it on #medlibs tweet chat. Every hospital is very proud (and rightfully so) to be listed as US News Top American Hospital and a lot of work goes into making those hospitals as good as they are. It is my belief that there are certain qualities unique to top hospitals that helps make them a top hospital. They have a certain infrastructure so to speak, that encourages education, innovation, and excellence. I believe part of that infrastructure of those hospitals is library (specifically the librarian) that help make the hospital be the best they can be and a top hospital.

I am not saying that every hospital that has a library is a top hospital. There are hospitals that aren’t top hospitals that have libraries. What I am thinking is that in order to be a top hospital you must have the necessary infrastructure, which includes libraries. My guess is that at least every hospital listed in the top ten have a library but the Top Hospitals list is over 900 institutions long in many specialties, so who knows how many in that large group have a librarian.

US News and World Report states “death rates, patient safety, and hospital reputation were a few of the factors considered,” for the top hospitals. I want to know more. What goes into making a top hospital a top hospital and are there libraries in each one? There is a phrase, “Behind every great man is a great woman.” (I would also say the phrase can be flipped to say behind every great woman is a great man too.) I want to know if the same applies to hospitals. Behind every great hospital is a librarian.

Originally my idea was to look at the Top Hospitals and determine whether they have a librarian. I also wanted to do more than just make it an attendance sheet. After all librarians do more than just show up, they support their hospital’s endeavors and mission. How do I quantify that? (Oh the question we always ask.) Well I assume that a top hospital in a certain specialty probably employs the thought leaders in that specialty and as thought leaders they would have published a about their specialty. So my thought was to take a specialty like cardiology, look at all the hospitals and determine if they have a librarian and how much they are publishing on that broad topic. I realize that isn’t perfect but it was an idea.

As much as I want to look at the Top Hospital list and try and see if they have librarians helping the hospitals be the best, it is a huge project and I am certain there are better ways to do it or better measures. Finding research is my specialty, conducting research is not. However I know there are a lot of librarians and non-librarians out there who are good at doing research. So, I am practicing what I preach, I am reaching out through social media about my research idea. I don’t care if you want to help and have a better way of doing it or if you want to do the whole thing on your own and “scoop me.” I think proving that good librarians are a necessary part of a Top Hospital is very important, I don’t care who/how it is proved.

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