Rethinking Ways to Provide Library Services to Rural Clinicians

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Objective: The purpose of this study was to analyze an ongoing project centered on satisfying basic clinical information needs of rural clinicians who work in hospitals without libraries or librarians by providing personal digital assistants (PDAs) equipped with clinical information databases augmented with full-text Loansome Doc delivery. Three projects have been instituted since 2006, in which 330 PDAs were distributed with training.

Methods: This was a qualitative study that primarily involved individual interviews of participants in one of the three projects. Interviews were recorded and transcribed, and themes were analyzed. The process continued until data saturation was achieved.

Results: Much information has been discovered about the value of the services provided and what can be done to better address clinician information needs. Data collection is ongoing.

Conclusions: Medical librarians, particularly those in academic centers, must reach out and find new ways to enable rural clinicians to stay current with the explosion of new biomedical information.


Minneanapolis, MN

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