A Clinical Informationist Model

Article Summary #8


AKA Article Summary #8

Physicians don’t, and never will, have [one hour or more] to look for the answers to most of their clinical questions themselves.”

-Davidoff & Florance (2000)

The research gathered and completed through the review of a staffing model at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, provides compelling evidence for the necessity of clinical informationists or librarians to be installed into healthcare units.  The combination of physicians who are stretched thin already, with very little time for research outside of their daily demands with patients, and the exponentially increasing medical literature available often leads to the conclusion that an informationist and/or librarian needs to be available to complete research.  These positions are becoming more and more crucial in the medical field, in order for patients to receive the best care possible.

As the need for clinical informationists is continuously established within the medical field, models for how healthcare organizations can implement procedures and policies as they relate to these positions, are very important to establish best practices. This study looked at how one specific medical center selected to approach the demand, employing the Clinical Informationist Model.  The Eskind Biomedical Library within Vanderbilt University, uses this model, to “…integrat[e] expert information provision with informantics systems.”  The position of the clinical informationist is one which requires an individual to provide answers to questions which arise during patient care.  The development of the model within the university proved that the immersion of librarians within healthcare teams was essential for the success of the newly established informational flow. This inevitably led to new procedures for training, including the creation or the Clinical Informatics Consult Service, which helped to support the relay of evidence-based information, provided at (or shortly after) the point of care, provided by clinical librarians and informationists.

Similar to other studies we have read and learned about in LS 534, this article provided another example of how crucial and valuable clinical librarians can be, especially when they are embedded within the care team, providing information on the spot for physicians.  It is fascinating to learn that as many of the other various “strands” of librarianship are feeling pressure to prove their worth and the necessity for them, clinical librarians are becoming seemingly more pertinent to the medical field.  It is always interesting to learn of other models established in this field, to learn about further potential positions I could hold in the future if I continue to pursue this field within librarianship.



Giuse, N., Koonce, T., Jerome, R., Cahall, M., Sathe, N., & Williams, A. (2005). Evolution of a mature clinical informationist model. Journal Of The American Medical Informatics Association, 12(3), 249-255 7p.

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