June 20, 2013

Eskind Biomedical Library thrives on managing knowledge

Over the past 18 years perhaps no program of Vanderbilt University Medical Center has undergone more change than Eskind Biomedical Library (EBL).

Over the past 18 years perhaps no program of Vanderbilt University Medical Center has undergone more change than Eskind Biomedical Library (EBL).

These days, EBL staff are routinely found outside the confines of the library, rounding with clinical teams in intensive care units, poring over patient histories with diagnostic management teams, or helping clinical pathologists translate complex genetic test results into terms that patients can understand.

EBL librarians still preside over a growing collection of digital resources, but their new expertise and qualifications now also bring them into close collaboration with work teams all across VUMC.

Eskind information specialists routinely:

• Search, analyze, filter and summarize evidence from the research literature to aid clinical decision making by inpatient and outpatient teams.

• Provide individualized consumer health information to patients and families based on referrals from Vanderbilt providers.

• Train scientists and students to search and interpret the latest available genetic and other biomolecular information.

• Search, analyze, filter and summarize evidence from the research literature to support development and revision of diagnosis- and procedure-based order sets used throughout VUMC.

• Serve as co-investigators for systematic reviews of biomedical literature undertaken by the Evidence-based Practice Center.

As knowledge workers, EBL team members are available to help users find information and improve their command of information resources available through Eskind’s digital library. Training and coaching are delivered in several ways, from online chat and the SearchDoc online instruction module, to one-on-one coaching and group classes.

“We live in an era when none of us can know it all, even in our own area of expertise,” said Nunzia Giuse, M.D., MLS, professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine, assistant vice chancellor for Knowledge Management and director of Eskind Biomedical Library.

“To help prepare the next generation of students and researchers, our job at the library is to field a highly collaborative team that combines broad content expertise in biomedical science and medicine with expertise in information science and information gathering.”

Eskind’s national reputation is matched by the goodwill of its partners from across VUMC, such as clinical pathologist Mike Laposata, M.D., Ph.D., who, as an attending physician on the coagulation diagnostic management team, has seen firsthand the impact of the knowledge management services provided by Eskind information specialists.

“They’re able to search the full length and breadth of the research literature and quickly filter it to answer questions about unusual clinical situations, with answers provided either immediately at rounds or within hours after presentation of a case,” Laposata said, adding that this level of library service is unheard of at other academic centers.

Trauma is one of several hospital services that have looked to Eskind information specialists as part of the clinical team.

“We don’t view clinical librarians as handy — we view them as integral to teaching and quality of care,” said John Morris Jr., M.D., associate chief of staff of Vanderbilt University Hospital and former director of the Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care.

Another program receiving key support from Eskind information specialists is PREDICT (Pharmacogenomic Resource for Enhanced Decisions in Care and Treatment), which provides prospective clinical genotyping to help patients avoid adverse gene-drug interactions. Eskind staff bring a combined knowledge of health literacy and genetics to this project.

“Our operational teams have relied on Eskind’s knowledge management expertise to help us synthesize and then translate genetic results into explanations that are useful to patients,” said Jill Pulley, MBA, director of Research Support Services.

As the budget for the coming fiscal year was finalized, the library was asked to develop a fiscal plan to strategically safeguard and advance its services and collections.
In accordance with VUMC leadership, the library determined that it will reintroduce a service fee for document delivery.

Beginning July 1, Eskind will charge VUMC staff, faculty and students $12 for each journal article obtained through its document delivery service.

Since October 2002, Eskind has used money from its collections budget to cover all costs for this service.

The $12 fee represents a significant savings to library users over document delivery fees charged by individual publishers and other commercial providers.

This change, combined with significant weeding out of Eskind’s least-used journals, will help offset annual double-digit inflation in biomedical journal subscriptions costs.