Despite the existence of various subspecialties in the medical field, health sciences librarians are often the first to notice a new technology. Because of their generalist background, they are familiar with the challenges posed by new technologies, and they are often aware of potential solutions or have connections to the people who can make them happen. Health sciences librarians are also now involved in teaching and may provide direct instruction in their respective areas of expertise. Many health sciences librarians are becoming physicians’ primary partners, because they are interested in meeting the needs of physicians and patients. They are also interested in how technology can improve their workflow. Health sciences librarians are also interested in the challenges that physicians face, such as the increasing use of electronic health records (EHRs) and the need for physicians to effectively use the information in such records.
Health sciences librarians also work in the diagnostic process. They understand the needs of physicians and patients, and can provide feedback to help physicians improve their practices. They also help physicians to organize their clinical records, so that it is easier to consult the patient’s medical records during medical emergencies.
Librarians have been performing what we call “clinical coordination services” for nearly a century. They have assisted physicians through a variety of tasks, such as providing basic information about the medical field, answering questions, and providing referrals. We now provide this service at all levels of the patient-physician relationship: from the patient’s first encounter with a physician, to the patient’s last encounter with a physician. Health sciences librarians work with physicians and other health care providers to plan and implement appropriate patient interventions and to provide ongoing support to patients. The focus is on developing a relationship with patients and families by providing services to help them better manage their healthcare. We emphasize services in the areas of research and information, but we also assist in other areas that are important to patients, such as advocacy, education, and administration. This information is often gathered during patient encounters or through other means. Librarians create search strategies for finding health information and provide guidance to physicians when they search the same databases. They also work with physicians to develop care plans for patients. They perform activities such as helping to set appointments, performing health risk assessments, reviewing lab results, and ensuring that patients have access to their health records.
We cannot forget that we must be well-rounded in our career choices. In today's society, we are expected to do so many things. This is why it is vital that we continue to practice our professional development in many aspects. I have learned that librarianship is not for everyone, but is for those who are open to the diversity of the field. 827ec27edc