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NER Update November 27th, 2020
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Conducting Focused Outreach with Patient Populations

Posted by on November 6th, 2020 Posted in: Communities of Interest
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On Tue, Oct 27, I presented a poster at the North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries, Inc. (NAHSL) virtual annual conference. NAHSL selected the Whova platform for the conference. Whova embeds Zoom for sharing presentations and hosting discussions. As participants entered the room, I launched into explanations of my poster. Participants typed questions and comments into the chat box.

The poster explored techniques for conducting outreach to patient populations based upon strategies that we use at the Network of the National Library of Medicine.

Burgeoning efforts in participatory care and the inclusion of patients in the decision-making process pose a unique opportunity for librarians and information professionals to offer more personalized information services. ~DeRosa et. al.

During the poster presentation, I offered five suggestions:

  1. Identify a patient population that you hope to engage, such as pediatric cancer patients and their caregivers.
  2. Identify a specific goal, such as supporting shared decision-making with the healthcare team through personalized information services.
  3. Assess your motivations before introducing yourself to patients and caregivers. What do you hope to gain?
  4. Keep in mind that we do not have the power to single-handedly impose change that will lead to improved usage of hospital library services. Partnership is necessary.
  5. True collaboration requires a long-term commitment, and improved outcomes is a slow, deliberate process.

Pandemic Challenges

Here at the Network, we are struggling with Focused Outreach during the pandemic. Our partners are not responding to emails. Social distance measures are impacting our ability to connect face-to-face. We are thinking through adaptations, and look forward to resuming our tried-and-true methods when it is safe to do so.

Further Reading

  • Malachowski M. Conducting Focused Outreach with Patient Populations, J Hosp Librariansh. 2020 Jul 21; 20:3, 253-262. Available from10.1080/15323269.2020.1779536
  • DeRosa AP, Blatich Nelson B, Delgado D, Mages KC, Martin L, Stribling JC. Involvement of information professionals in patient- and family-centered care initiatives: a scoping review. J Med Libr Assoc. 2019 Jul; 107(3):314-322. Available from: 10.5195/jmla.2019.652.
  • National Institutes of Health. Principles of community engagement, second edition. Bethesda (MD); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2011 Jun. Available from: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/communityengagement/index.html
  • Urciuoli W, Swiatek J. Providing health care professionals and patients with tablet computers at the point of care. J Hosp Librariansh. 2018 Jul 17; 18:3, 246-253. Available from: 10.1080/15323269.2018.147191

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NNLM New England Region
University of Massachusetts Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655
(508) 856-5985

This has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012347 with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

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