As high-quality medical information becomes more readily available online, straightforward clinical questions can often be addressed quickly. Point-of-care tools offer simple interfaces to current, evidence-based guidance for clinical decision making. The College Library offers two tools, BMJ Best Practice and First Consult, while another tool, UpToDate, is available from most BC health authority libraries and the provincial Divisions of Family Practice office. The utility of these tools, however, can be exhausted by clinical questions arising from care of patients with complex comorbidities and contexts. Whether an ensuing search for evidence to support a challenging question is conducted is often determined by whether clinicians have enough time and whether they feel efficient in selecting an information source.
Literature search services by librarians at either the College Library or BC health authority libraries offer timeliness and expertise in locating high-quality evidence. Librarians have the knowledge to efficiently select resources and can devote the time needed for comprehensive information searches. Librarians use careful question analysis and controlled vocabularies to develop logical search strategies. Studies demonstrate that librarian-supported literature searching changes physicians’ approaches to patient care and results in better-informed clinical decisions and fewer adverse events.
Literature search services for physicians are offered by librarians in six of the BC health authorities and for the entire province by the College Library. No annual limits are placed on the number of search requests made to the College Library, and every effort is made to respond within the requestor’s deadline. Contact the College Library at 604 733-6671 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or your local health authority library.
—Karen MacDonell, PhD
Director, Library Services
This article is the opinion of the Library of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC and has not been peer reviewed by the BCMJ Editorial Board.
1. Cook DA, Sorensen KJ, Wilkinson JM, et al. Barriers and decisions when answering clinical questions at the point of care: A grounded theory study. JAMA Intern Med 2013;173:1962-1969.
2. Marshall JG, Sollenberger J, Easterby-Gannett S, et al. The value of library and information services in patient care: Results of a multisite study. J Med Libr Assoc 2013;101:38-46.
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.
BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:
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For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org