To read this content please select one of the options below:

Library and information services: impact on patient care quality

Joanne Gard Marshall (School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA)
Jennifer Craft Morgan (Gerontology Institute, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
Cheryl A. Thompson (Graduate School of Library and, Information Science, University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign, Illinois, USA)
Amber L. Wells (Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to explore library and information service impact on patient care quality.


A large-scale critical incident survey of physicians and residents at 56 library sites serving 118 hospitals in the USA and Canada. Respondents were asked to base their answers on a recent incident in which they had used library resources to search for information related to a specific clinical case.


Of 4,520 respondents, 75 percent said that they definitely or probably handled patient care differently using information obtained through the library. In a multivariate analysis, three summary clinical outcome measures were used as value and impact indicators: first, time saved; second, patient care changes; and third, adverse events avoided. The outcomes were examined in relation to four information access methods: first, asking librarian for assistance; second, performing search in a physical library; third, searching library's web site; or fourth, searching library resources on an institutional intranet. All library access methods had consistently positive relationships with the clinical outcomes, providing evidence that library services have a positive impact on patient care quality.


Electronic collections and services provided by the library and the librarian contribute to patient care quality.



This study was funded in part with federal funds from the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under contract no. N01-LM-6-3501, New York University Medical Center Library and contract no. HHS-N-276-2011-00003-C, University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences Library System. Additional support was provided by the: Hospital Libraries Section, Medical Library Association (MLA), New York-New Jersey Chapter, MLA; Philadelphia Chapter, MLA; Upstate New York and Ontario Chapter, MLA; New York State Reference and Research Library Councils; and the Donald A.B. Lindberg Fellowship from MLA.


Gard Marshall, J., Craft Morgan, J., A. Thompson, C. and L. Wells, A. (2014), "Library and information services: impact on patient care quality", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 27 No. 8, pp. 672-683.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles