Care Redesign, Solo SIG and Jon Meacham: Medical Library Association 2018

Monday, May 21, 2018

On Monday afternoon, I focused on hospital librarianship. I joined the editorial staff of the Journal of Hospital Librarianship (JHL) for lunch. Afterwards, I caught Leila Ledbetter’s presentation on Care Redesign and attended the business meetings of the Solo Special Interest Group and the Hospital Librarians Section.

Stainless steel abstract sculpture of a woman.

John Portman’s sculpture Belle.

JHL Lunch. At lunchtime, downtown Atlanta buzzed with conference attendees. I spotted three types of lanyards. Luckily, JHL reserved a table for twelve at Alma Cocina. The editorial staff munched on assorted chips, salsas and guacamole while we held our business meeting. Carole Gilbert reviewed our responsibilities for the coming year. I share duties for the consumer health column with three librarians, including Dana Ladd (VCU). We sat next to each other at the CAPHIS meeting, and across from each other at Alma Cocina. I made note to attend her presentation on Tuesday.

Care Redesign. After our lunch, the JHL editorial staff dashed back to the Hyatt Regency for the afternoon presentations and meetings. Leila Ledbetter co-presented with (ack! I neglected to jot down which of the four authors were joining her). They explained that Care Redesign is another name for Quality Improvement. Hospitals are under pressure to reduce costs. Hospital readmissions are considered to be a major money waster. Duke Health identified several areas for Care Redesign: total knee replacement, pediatric asthma, obstetric delivery, lung transplant, renal failure, spinal surgery, delirium, wounds and amputations, behavioral disorders and emergency department utilization.

Care Redesign utilizes interprofessional teams. Duke Health librarians attended the kick-off meetings, accepted assignments to teams, received questions from the teams and conducted literature searches on selected topics. The interprofessional teams reviewed the literature and incorporated evidence into the new care design.

How did librarians get invited? Duke Medical Center Library has a stellar reputation for supporting evidence-based medicine. Not resting on this reputation, librarians cold-called Duke Medical Center’s quality improvement staff to find out how they could support Care Redesign. “This was a very gratifying process,” stated Leila Ledbetter.

Solo SIG. My next stop was the Solo SIG meeting. Louise McLaughlin (Women’s Hospital) ran this efficient meeting. After brief introductions, we paired up to brainstorm the ways in which the National Library of Medicine could support solo hospital librarians. Common concerns: Who can solo librarians collaborate with for library research? How does one person serve many different hospital library needs? How do solo librarians market library services in a climate of constant turnover (medical residents, healthcare practitioners and healthcare administrators)? What could NLM do to keep hospital libraries vibrant?

At the end of the meeting, NLM Director Patti Brennan arrived to hear our ideas. The Solo SIG requested that Dr. Brennan speak about hospital libraries at every meeting she attends. Why? To raise up the profile of the work done by hospital librarians. From my perspective, Dr. Brennan appeared relieved by this suggestion. She could do this!

The second request was that NLM offer more how-to-do-library-research courses targeted at hospital librarians. Dr. Brennan brainstormed with the group what this might look like. She mentioned the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. At that point, Sarah Miles (NNLM SCR) and I shared that we were in the meeting to listen to the concerns of hospital librarians. Sarah and I hope to collaborate in developing NNLM training for hospital librarians.

Hospital Librarians Section. From the Solo SIG, I made my way to the end-of-day meeting of the Hospital Librarians Section. I stayed through the recognition of members. The next agenda item was a visit from Kevin Baliozian to discuss (again) potential changes to MLA communities. I decided to skip out.

In my hotel room, I reviewed Monday’s #MLANet18 tweets. I realized that I need to follow up on a lightning presentation entitled It’s Crunch Time: Adapting and Transforming Hospital Libraries to Support Institutional Budget Goals. I will track down Elizabeth Laera (@LibrarianLizy) and Emily Harris, both at McMahon-Sibley Medical Library in Birmingham, AL.

Fried chicken sandwich and macaroni and cheese on a plate.

Chicken sandwich with mac’n’cheese.

Jon Meacham at the Carter Center. Once again, I caught the MARTA bus to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum. I grabbed supper at Inman Park eatery Folk Art. Another chicken sandwich. This time, I went for the side of mac’n’cheese and Atlanta’s Eventide Kölsch.

I walked over to the Carter Center to hear Jon Meacham discuss his latest book The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels. As I rounded the corner, I texted my husband, “Harsh reality: I am interested in events that attract old people.” Nearly everyone lined up outside the Carter Center was my age (mid-50s) or older. My husband texted back, “Well, at least you still like old men like me.”

The Carter Center brought in Doug Blackmon to interview Jon Meacham for this sold-out event. For me, one of the most enjoyable aspects of the evening was being surrounded by the Metro Atlanta audience. Reminded me of attending lectures in other cities I have visited. Ed and I saw singer Mavis Staples interviewed at Tulane University during the New Orleans Jazz Festival. We attended a lecture by historian Joseph Sanchez at the New Mexico History Museum during Santa Fe’s Las Fiestas. As I listen to talks on race segregation in Atlanta, music history in New Orleans, and the Spanish Inquisition in Santa Fe, I realize the narrow focus of my New England upbringing. I am less informed than the hometown crowd.

Presidential historian Jon Meacham delighted the crowd with anecdotes. Doug Blackmon encouraged us to look up University of Virginia’s Miller Center, a non-partisan organization that specializes in presidential scholarship. We all received a signed copy of The Soul of America. And, the event was over before sundown (haha!)