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November 2, 2012 - USA College of Medicine Biomedical Library Awarded Funds for Technology Improvement
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The University of South Alabama Biomedical Library has been awarded $4,790 from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine for technology to improve patient outcomes by delivering pre-surgery education to heart patients cared for at USA Medical Center.

Geneva Staggs, senior librarian at the USA Biomedical Library and principal investigator of the project, said the project funds technology that will provide patients with access to educational videos from the National Library of Medicine’s consumer health web site, Medline Plus (http://medlineplus.gov).

Traditionally, patients obtained information by coming into the Health Information Resource Center to use a touch screen kiosk. However, this funding will allow librarians to provide information that describes the patient process from pre-hospital admission to discharge.

The new laptop will be used during the patient's pre-operative visit, and to take pre-surgery education into the open heart surgery patient’s room. After April 30, 2013, this service will continue as currently offered and will be expanded to patients with other conditions.

Staggs says that this project illustrates the commitment of the College of Medicine and the Biomedical Library to support the delivery of quality healthcare in USA hospitals. Under the direction of Dr. Clara Massey, the director of the division of cardiology at USA, 15 departments in the USA Medical Center have established a Heart Care Team and have written new evidence based clinical pathways for open heart patients.

Dr. Massey, who is also professor of internal medicine, says that prior to the development of the Heart Team, the information provided to the patient and family before surgery was very limited.

“Feedback from patients and families who used this service confirms a decrease in their level of anxiety and improved understanding of the treatment process,” she said. “Our most recent statistics document an improvement in patient outcome as a direct response to this activity."

As principal investigator for the project, Staggs recently presented a preliminary report on the project at the Quad Chapter Meeting of the Medical Library Association in Baltimore, Md. Her poster was titled “Librarian’s Involvement with Hospital’s New Protocol for Open Heart Surgery.”

This was a joint meeting of the Southern, Mid-Atlantic, New York/New Jersey, and Philadelphia Regional Chapters of the Medical Library Association. “Instead of only being viewed by librarians in the Southeast, librarians from a broader area with an interest in patient education were able to view and discuss what we are doing at the University of South Alabama,” said Staggs.

“We know that patient education is important because it supports the patient’s health care decisions and provides for better outcomes through better understanding,” said Staggs. “Having up to date equipment to provide this education will reduce problems we sometimes encountered in the past, such as connectivity and equipment issues.”

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