Visiting librarian program

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Abstract

Physicians in British Columbia, Canada, had indicated that two major learning needs are (1) to keep up with the overwhelming amount of medical literature, and (2) to answer clinical questions quickly. To meet these needs the Visiting Librarian Program was designed whereby a physician was visited at home or in the office by a librarian, and taught, one-to-one, to use a home or office computer and software, Grateful Med, to conduct a literature search of the National Library of Medicine, Washington, DC. About 12% of the total physician population in the province enrolled. A telephone survey of a small random sample found that 59% regularly searched the literature and found the program useful. Forty-one percent did not continue to search, citing lack of time, other resources, and computer troubles as reasons. The program was funded by the BC Medical Association at a total cost of $150,000 (Cdn). Seventy-five percent of this amount was for librarian salaries, 12% for search costs, 8% for travel, and the remainder for administrative expenses. As an individualized CME program offered to physicians in their own setting, the Visiting Librarian Program can be considered successful.

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