Evaluation of hospital staff’s perceived quality of librarian-mediated literature searching services
Keywords:Information Storage and Retrieval, Information Services, Libraries, Medical, Quality Improvement, Program Evaluation, Questionnaires, Consumer Behavior, Personnel, Hospital, Communication
Objective: The research evaluated the perceived quality of librarian-mediated literature searching services at one of Canada’s largest acute care teaching hospitals for the purpose of continuous quality improvement and investigation of relationships between variables that can impact user satisfaction.
Methods: An online survey was constructed using evidence-based methodologies. A systematic sample of staff and physicians requesting literature searches at London Health Sciences Centre were invited to participate in the study over a one-year period. Data analyses included descriptive statistics of closed-ended questions and coding of open-ended questions.
Results: A range of staff including clinicians, researchers, educators, leaders, and analysts submitted a total of 137 surveys, representing a response rate of 71%. Staff requested literature searches for the following “primary” purposes: research or publication (34%), teaching or training (20%), informing a policy or standard practice (16%), patient care (15%), and “other” purposes (15%). While the majority of staff (76%) submitted search requests using methods of written communication, including email and search request forms, staff using methods of verbal communication, including face-to-face and telephone conversations, were significantly more likely to be extremely satisfied with the librarian’s interpretation of the search request (p=0.004) and to rate the perceived quality of the search results as excellent (p=0.005). In most cases, librarians followed up with staff to clarify the details of their search requests (72%), and these staff were significantly more likely to be extremely satisfied with the librarian’s interpretation of the search request (p=0.002).
Conclusions: Our results demonstrate the limitations of written communication in the context of librarian-mediated literature searching and suggest a multifaceted approach to quality improvement efforts.
This article has been approved for the Medical Library Association’s Independent Reading Program.