Patient care enhanced through new on-line library partnership

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For the first time in Ontario, physicians and other professional staff in local community hospitals have been given instant access to the resources of a full-service, university-based health sciences library. A unique new partnership between the Bracken Health Sciences Library at Queen’s University and Quinte Healthcare Corporation (QHC) gives all health professionals at QHC on-line access to Bracken’s services via the Internet.

“This partnership was designed to provide library services for all four sites of the Quinte Healthcare Corporation,” says Jan Richardson, Vice-President of Human Resources at QHC. “The goal was to really try to give the most up-to-date health information to health-care providers.”

By putting the most current, specialized medical information at the fingertips of physicians, nurses, and other health professionals, this partnership ensures that patients in Southeastern Ontario experience the benefits of leading-edge information technology in the field of health care.

With a few clicks of a mouse, QHC professional staff and physicians can access medical journals, books, and other health-care information. Materials that aren’t available electronically can be borrowed from the library by ordering them on-line. Documents are supplied and faxed from Bracken Health Sciences Library upon request. Regardless of their geographic location, a QHC physician or staff person can get the required reference material quickly and easily by logging on to a nearby computer.

This approach to library services not only saves time for users, but also defrays costs associated with purchasing expensive texts and journals that quickly become outdated, a cost saving that will be realized by each of the QHC hospitals. “We’ve been able to do this type of partnership within the same budget,” says Mrs. Richardson, “but we’ve expanded the information that’s available ten-fold.”

The service was launched earlier this year and information sessions have been held at all four hospitals of QHC. “The service has been very helpful,” says Dr. Bert Conn, Chief of the Psychiatry/Mental Health Department at QHC. “I’ve found it quite informative, both for academic and clinical information. I would rate it ‘excellent’.” Another physician, Dr. Douglas MacIntosh, uses the on-line library daily. An Oncologist, he began practicing medicine in 1959. “It’s quite a great assist for physicians because there are so many articles around and it’s difficult to focus and actually find the article you want,” he says. “With this system, you can zero right in on what you’re looking for.” He also sees the on-line library as a great tool for education.

“This initiative is in keeping with Queen’s Faculty of Health Science’s commitment to enhancing collaboration with hospitals and health-care professionals across Southeastern Ontario,” says Vivien Ludwin, Head, Bracken Health Sciences Library. “Bracken Health Sciences Library will serve as a cost-effective gateway to electronic health-care information across the region.”