A clinical librarian in a hospital critical care unit may generate a positive return on investment

Ned Hartfiel, Girendra Sadera, Victoria Treadway, Catherine Lawrence, Rhiannon Tudor Edwards
Health Information and Libraries Journal 2020 November 16

BACKGROUND: Timely information provided by clinical librarians can contribute to outcomes such as improved patient care and time savings for hospital staff. What is unknown is the return on investment (ROI) of a clinical librarian on a critical care unit.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess the ROI, from the employer perspective, of placing a clinical librarian in a critical care unit in a large UK acute hospital.

METHODS: Using a mixed methods approach, ROI was estimated by comparing the total costs with the total monetised benefits of implementing the clinical librarian intervention. Total costs included salary and equipment costs. Total monetised benefits included time saving for hospital staff, support for professional development and improved patient care.

RESULTS: When total monetised benefits were compared with total costs, the 15-month clinical librarian intervention generated a positive ROI of £1.18-£3.03 for every £1 invested.

DISCUSSION: Using outcome measures derived from previous research, this novel study generated promising results indicative for commissioners seeking to improve patient care and deliver value for money. To improve generalisability, multisite studies using standardised ROI tools are recommended.

CONCLUSION: Employing a clinical librarian in a critical care unit can generate a positive ROI.

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