It is crunch time and I know everybody going to MLA 14 in Chicago is scrambling to tie up lose ends at work or for Chicago. But as you go over your schedule for MLA you might want to check out the McGovern Lecturer, Dr. Aaron Carroll’s blog or his Facebook page. Dr. Carroll has invited MLA members and attendees to begin a conversation with him in advance of the annual meeting on topics of interest by posting on his blog, friending him on Facebook, following him on Twitter, or emailing him.
For his lecture, Dr Carrol will be addressing issues on the Affordable Care Act and health care policy. His blog, “The Incidental Economist: Contemplating health care with a focus on research, an eye on reform,” is “mostly about the U.S. health care system and its organization, how it works, how it fails us, and what to do about it.” Dr Carroll is one of the Editors in Chief of the blog which also has several contributors who have “professional expertise in an area relevant to the health care system” as researchers and professors in health economics, law and other health service areas.
The Affordable Care Act and its impact on libraries and how librarians can help hospitals deal with certain aspects of it is a bit of a interest for me. I have taught several classes to library groups in the past year about librarians can better align their goals to that of the hospital. Since many hospitals goals are now focused around parts of the Affordable Care Act it makes sense that medical libraries develop strategies to support their institution’s Affordable Care Act goals.
For example…How can the medical library help the hospital
- Prevent readmissions
- Increase focus on preventive care
- Improve patient satisfaction
- Deal with Meaningful Use (not exactly ACA but very entwined)
Depending on the focus of the library or librarian, we might be able to help more than we or our administration realize. Here is what some libraries are doing already…
- Partnering with IT or CIO to provide evidence based medicine resources within the EMR
- Partnering with IT or CIO to make sure that order sets are based on best available evidence
- Embedded librarians rounding with patient care teams to help provide necessary information for patient care
- Help provide patient education documents and information and make them accessbile to patients through the patient portal
- Work with doctors to provide a prescription for health information to the patient through the EMR
Not only is it important the librarians do these things to help their institutions (BTW no one librarian can do it all but they should be doing something) achieve their goals, but it is equally important that we need to be MEASURING our impact. If we don’t measure it, it didn’t happen. Measuring can be tricky but it is necessary, especially if you want to keep your library and your job. Gone are the days where you can say I did 103 MEDLINE searches for doctors and that helped them treat patients. Really? How do you know those MEDLINE searches helped them? Did you ask what became of the search? Did you track how your information was being used? All you know is that you did 103 searches. You don’t know whether that was a benefit to the institution or not. We assume it was, but administration doesn’t assume anything.
I am looking forward to hearing Dr. Carroll speak. But before I see him at MLA, I am going to try and start to engage with him to find out what we librarians can do to help our institutions deal with the ACA and make our ourselves more valuable to the institution. I encourage everyone else to do the same with their own thoughts and questions prior to MLA.