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Posted by on July 3rd, 2013 Posted in: All Posts

By: PJ Grier, Outreach/Access Coordinator, National Network of Libraries, Southeastern Atlantic Region

My MLA conference experience covered what would’ve otherwise been a normal road trip to Boston, attending the John P. McGovern Award Lecturer (Richard Besser, MD of ABC News) plenary session, joining the Medical Informatics Section, having dinner with Robb Mackes – the project manager for the Health Sciences Library Association of New Jersey – Group Licensing Initiative (HSLANJ-GLI), presenting a paper at the Hospital Libraries Section session and listening to the Joseph Leiter NLM/MLA LecturespeakerSheila Davis.

I thought a one-way car rental to Boston would be a nice way to catch-up on news with a colleague while at the same time saving money…well not so much. It normally takes 5½ hours of driving time from Philadelphia, and the plan was to do it between the morning and evening rush hours to make it more enjoyable, or so we thought. In my years of renting cars, I never experienced a flat-tire until this trip. On top of that, the blowout occurred on a restricted (emergency service) highway. Initially, unbeknownst to our car rental company, what should have taken 5 minutes took an hour for the company to identify the correct tow service. Next was getting the tire replaced by a doughnut.  Thanks to the Google Map app, driving to the nearest rental car facility for a vehicle exchange was a breeze. However, Boston at rush hour was a royal pain.  Lesson learned and filed.

Fellow RML colleagues have already spoken favorably of Dr. Besser’s presentation “Life on Two Sides of the Camera: The Role of Media in Shaping Health,” and I agree.

Some know of my interest in informatics, specifically the Electronic Health Record. While in Boston, I joined the Medical Informatics Section and attended my first business meeting. Procedural items were covered, as well as exciting discussions that centered on next year’s planning and sponsorships.

With support from the National Network of Libraries – Southeastern Atlantic Region (SE/A), Health Sciences Library Association of New Jersey (HSLANJ) is currently marketing group licensing activities within the region. As the Coordinator responsible for monitoring this project, it was natural for me to want to listen to Robb’s (Robb Mackes – Executive Director, HSLANJ) ideas and plans for our region over dinner. HSLANJ has a long tradition for facilitating licensing of electronic resources for hospital libraries. Most hospital librarians will agree with Arpita Bose – Director at New York Methodist Hospital (Brooklyn, NY) when she recently said “…having access to the Group Licensing Initiative and its purchasing power is vital to medical librarians.”With our support it is anticipated that HSLANJ will fill an important niche for hospital libraries throughout our region.

For the Hospital Libraries Section session on Structuring Our Services for the Future in Health Care,I presented a paper on the growing healthcare trend of primary information and data that is clinically actionable, and is being produced from a variety of output streams other than peer-reviewed journal literature. Outputs include clinical apps, inferential software applications, and nowcasting. The challenge for medical librarianship is how we are going to manage, track and deliver information emanating from these sources. The paper was entitled Conquering Shifting Sands.

One of my favorite programs was when Sheila Davis, RN, director of Global Nursing at Partners in Health, movingly spoke of her longstanding global health endeavors particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS around the world in which some of the poorest people live, including the United States. An aspect of her presentation was the recent construction (which had been in the planning for a number of years) of an earthquake resistant, state-of-the-art hospital in Haiti, Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais. Funded by Partners in Health, it happens to be the world’s largest solar powered hospital and is currently adopting an electronic health record system.

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