Librarians help patients book hospital appointments?

Via BBC News

Health Link director Elizabeth Manero said: “Patients told us they needed someone outside the NHS to help them make sense of information about hospitals and help them choose the right one for their treatment.

“It seemed to us that librarians, as information professionals in every community, were ideally placed for this role.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, it seems that a number of parties have concern about the pilot program. See the full article for details.

6 thoughts on “Librarians help patients book hospital appointments?

  1. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, librarians do connect a user/patient to information/available docs, but the idea of librarians spending time setting appointments bugs me. I’d be completely comfortable with it if the librarians were simply helping people identify docs/services, using a GoLocal type of model. The actual setting of appointments, though – I’m not sure that’s the best used of professional skill. Perhaps people with a background in case management would be better at this, to make sure that patients get appointments with all of the providers they need to address their various issues. I need to mull this one over a bit more.

  2. I am an NHS librarian supporting public library colleagues in one of the pilot areas.

    Just to clarify on the concern raised by Rachel – the kind of appointment required has already been selected by the patient’s Doctor. The librarian input is to help people find their way around various information sources that will support people in deciding which one of a number of hospitals available they will chose to use. Hopefully the booking process should be straight forward but there may be some IT support type help required along the way.

    It is worth adding that the vast majority of people will book the hospital appointment at the point of the discussion with their doctor. The aim is to avoid people being disadvantaged in making their choice by lack of access to IT or internet skills.

    It may also bring a few new people into the library!

  3. I am the instigator of this project. The g about the librarian role we are piloting (to independently evaluated by Loughborough University)is is that it closes the digital divide in one step: patients who are not IT literate can have access to uptodate online information to choose hospitals, with a librarian finding for them, printing it out and giving it to them. Many frail older people benefit from this (2/3 of hospital patients are over 65). We’ll see what the evaluation, has to say. It will evaluated the experienc of library staff and patients.