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Emergency Medicine | Library and Information Science


Introduction: The need for efficient access to academic resources in the Emergency Department is crucial to the Emergency physician. Many academic medical libraries have a large volume of information that makes it difficult to find answers in a time-sensitive clinical setting. We designed an Emergency Medicine library guide, tested its efficiency and surveyed users about their preference of an EM library website compared to the general library website.

Methods: We created an EM library guide using the Libguide software by Springshare. We then created two tests of similar clinical questions simulating cases in the Emergency Department where researching an answer would likely be necessary. These questions were validated by three EM attendings. Forty-six EM residents from the University of Massachusetts Medical School were asked to participate in the study. They were divided into two groups, each answering a set of questions using any resources they chose. The EM library guide was then introduced, and residents were asked to answer the other set of questions to compare accuracy and speed. A survey was then sent to all residents and attendings to gather feedback of the new resource.

Result: A total of 23 residents completed both tests of clinical questions, one test taken prior to the introduction of the EM library guide, and one test taken after. There was no statistical significance in the number of questions answered correctly before and after introduction of the EM library guide (4.3/7 compared to 3.6/7, P= 0.0875). The time taken to answer the questions was shorter after the introduction of the EM library guide (16.9 minutes compared to 13.9 minutes, P=0.0224). A survey given to residents and attendings showed 83% felt the website made it easier to find answers to clinical questions, and 89% preferred the EM website compared to the general library website. 88% of clinicians who responded to the survey have continued to use the EM-specific website since its inception.

Conclusion: Emergency physicians prefer utilizing an Emergency Medicine specific library website, compared to an academic medical library website, to answer clinical questions. Although accuracy was not improved using the EM-specific library site, the time taken to answer the clinical questions was significantly improved, thus showing the efficiency of an EM-specific library website.

Presented at the CORD (Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors) Academic Assembly 2011, March 3-5 2011, San Diego, California.


Library website, LibGuides

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2011 CORD (Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors) Academic Assembly