Reducing Diagnostic Error

Dr. Mark Graber spoke today regarding diagnostic error and how librarians can help. Obviously, anything with the term “error” in its name is not going to be a good thing, but Dr. Graber really brought the costs of diagnostic error home with the story of Rory Staunton, a boy whose sepsis was misdiagnosed as gastroenteritis, as well as these sobering facts:

  • Falls, medication errors and other patient safety issues have seen improvements in recent years; Dx errors are still largely unrecognized.
  • 40,000-80,000 deaths a year may be due to Dx error, making it the 5th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Dx error results in more malpractice costs that any other issue.

However, the presentation was not all doom and gloom, as Dr. Graber had a number of suggestions. He pointed to the fact that real change requires both system change–policies, procedures and culture–as well as cognitive change at the individual level. And there are a number of ways librarians can help:

  • Participate on clinical teams and committees to reduce Dx error.
  • Educate medical professionals on the difference between analytical and intuitive thinking, as well as tacit and explicit knowledge.
  • Explore tools like Dxplain and Isabel.
  • Consider participating in the SIDM Librarians on Call project.

Campfire Conversation: AHIP

A new program of this year’s meeting was Campfire Conversations. I attended the one on AHIP moderated by Jolene Miller, Director of Mulford Health Science Library, University of Teledo.  AHIP stands for Academy Of Health Information Professionals.  It is Medical Library Association’s (MLA’s) credentialing program established in 1989. It is a peer-reviewed professional development and career recognition program. Jolene said having AHIP after one’s name is often a conversation starter, and the term peer-review resonates with faculty.

AHIP is often listed as a preferred item in job openings. So being an AHIP member could give one an edge in the job market. There are five membership levels: Provisional Member Level, Member Level, Senior Member Level, Distinguished Member Level, and Emeritus Member Level. Application fees varies depending on the membership level. See more information on the application process on MLA website.

Decisions about AHIP applications are made by the MLA Credentialing Committee. Jolene served on the committee for several years. She offered the following advice for those who are considering becoming AHIP members.

  • Get into the habit of regularly documenting your professional development and continue education. This can be as simple as a folder on your computer or a physical paper folder.
  • Document more points than needed.
  • Visit MLA website regularly to keep current with changes on points and documentation.

Which Campfire Conversation did you attend? Share with us in the comments area.

Campfire Conversation: Nurses and Nursing Students

The hour-long campfire conversations portion of the conference was something I had very much been looking forward to, as a way to meet other librarians and to hear about their successes and difficulties regarding various aspects of medical librarianship. It definitely didn’t disappoint! My only regret was that I could only attend one. I chose the conversation about serving nurses and nursing students, where we packed a lot of excellent discussion into one hour. Our small group was made up of both hospital and academic librarians, so we covered everything from preparing for Magnet certification to working with distance students to handling delicate situations involving poor student assignments from faculty.

Before the end of the hour, our group exchanged email addresses in order to continue the conversation online. I know I had a number of good take-aways from the discussion that I would like to try back at my institution, particularly in terms of outreach. I look forward to similar conversations at future conferences!

Programs on data and systematic reviews

Betsy Humphreys, Deputy Director of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, mentioned two departure points for health sciences librarians: providing data management training for researchers and conducting literature searches to ­­­produce evidence needed to improve quality of care. I’d like to highlight some of the meeting programs on these two areas. Make sure to check out those that are upcoming. Feel free to leave a comment if I missed anything.

  • Saturday CE Class: Informatics for Librarians: Peeling the Onion
  • Saturday Class: Introduction to Translational Bioinformatics
  • Sunday Paper: Creating a Plan to Formalize a Systematic Review Program. 2:54pm at Van Goh-Remington
  • Tuesday CE Class: Systematic Reviews: Getting Started

Stay fit in Bismarck

Yes, Eric Rumsey, Jen Deberg, and I drove from Iowa City, IA to Bismarck, ND. Thirteen hours on the road. That’s how committed we are to Midwest. We also had healthy meals on the road because we are big on nutrition. Be sure to look for Eric Rumsey in the poster session for a poster he coauthored with Jen Deberg and Janna Lawrence.

ia to bis
Today we needed some stretching. Here is what we’ve explored so far:
The Fitness center and the pool are both located on the 2nd floor, which is where the conference is held. You can get in to the pool area, but you need to get a different card from the desk to access the fitness center. Jen liked the fitness center but commented on the lack of upper extremities equipment and therapy balls. Note that  Jen was an Occupational Therapist for many years before becoming a librarian. Look for her poster on history of evidence based nursing. No comments on the pool itself, but I did yoga at a corner in this area since I did not find a space in the fitness center.

fitness centerpool

The registration desk is also located on the 2nd floor, where you will be greeted by Dawn Hackman and Mary Markland. Remember to pick up some awesome goodies there. I love nuts. Come to my presentation tomorrow afternoon and see why.

Registration desk goodies

Souvenir Shopping at Midwest

Souvenir shopping while attending the Midwest Chapter meeting in Bismarck will be easy. The Sunday social event is being held at the newly renovated Heritage Center, where the Museum Store has expanded to include new items. Gift shop hours that night will be from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

On a recent shopping trip, I spotted Pride of Dakota and other items for children and adults:

  • Tshirts, shirts, & sweatshirts
  • Jewelry
  • Pottery
  • Toys and puzzles
  • Books (every librarian needs more!)
  • CDs & DVDs
  • Posters
  • Chippers
  • Furry Animal hand puppets
  • Craft kits for cornhusk dolls, old fashioned sewing cards, and cats cradle
  • One-of-kind art items vary but may include handblown glass art and sculptures.

If you cannot find what you want at the Heritage Center Museum Store, a side trip to Plaza Drug might be an option for you. They have the largest selection of Pride of Dakota items I have seen in Bismarck (other than at the Heritage Center).

The best place to shop for Native American items is Five Nations Arts  located in Mandan’s historic Burlington Northern Railroad Depot. (If you’re curious, the “five nations” are Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara) and the Lakota and Dakota Sioux.  The six-mile drive from the conference hotel is well-worth it, but plan ahead as they are closed evenings and Sundays.

Other shopping opportunities were highlighted in the conference’s Tourist Attractions & Shopping guide or are listed on the Convention & Visitor’s Bureau website. Enjoy your retail therapy!


Attention: Crafters

Sandi Bates, one of Bismarck’s crafty librarians, alerted me to a fabric sale currently at a store within walking distance of the Bismarck conference hotel. J&R Vacuum & Sewing  has 45-inch cotton quilt fabric on sale for $6.99 per yard with a one-yard minimum. Sandi also said they have a great selection of batiks. The store’s hours are posted on their website.

For other crafty shopping possibilities, see pages 12 and 13 of our Things to Do guide. Please note — conference organizers cannot be held responsible for any and all retail therapy you choose to engage in during your stay in Bismarck. Please buy responsibly!


Bon Appétit

The Bismarck Dining & Drinks Guide was posted on the Midwest Chapter Meeting website this morning. Merete Christianson and I included links to Google Maps walking directions and other information, hoping this will be helpful on mobile devices. A printed version of the guide, along with downtown maps, also will be available at the registration desk. The  complete list of Bismarck-Mandan eateries is available from the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

If you’re planning on driving downtown, be aware several places highlighted have street parking only. You may want to keep in mind what downtown parking ramps are available.

plate,napkin, & cutlery

Tour ND State Capitol

Photo by North Dakota Tourism/Amy Taborsky

If you’re attending the Midwest Chapter meeting in Bismarck, setting aside time to visit one of the “10 Captivating Capitol Buildings” may be on your itinerary. The North Dakota Capitol also holds the world record for the most snow angels made simultaneously in one place, but do NOT expect to see any snow during your visit. (I checked the forecast!)

The Capitol is 1.4 miles from the Radisson Hotel, an invigorating walk for some and a quick drive or taxi ride for the rest of us.

I would recommend taking the Capitol tour if at all possible. You get to see parts of the Capitol that casual visitors do not, and guides point out unique building features. Here are  specific details about the tours:

  • Available Monday through Friday
  • Begin at 9, 10, and 11 a.m.; 1, 2, and 3 p.m.
  • Last 45 to 55 minutes
  • Begin at the ground floor information desk
  • Park for free on the Mall Drive that curves around the front of the Capitol or in the visitors parking lot south of the Capitol and north of the State Library building.
  • Enter through the covered front entrance and turn right; you’ll be at the information desk in less than a minute.
  • No reservations needed
  • Call 701-328-2480 with any questions.

“Chipper” Hunting in Bismarck

Addicted to “chippers” or just want to try some? Here are some Bismarck locations where you can purchase them during the Midwest meeting:

  • Heritage Center Museum Store — open 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. during the Sunday reception (one more reason to attend!)
  • Plaza Drug1116 North 3rd Street (13 blocks from conference hotel), also probably best inventory of all Pride of Dakota products in Bismarck
  • BMCVB, Visitor Information Center & Genuine Dakota Gift Shop1600 Burnt Boat Drive (Exit 157 off of I-94, 4.4 miles from conference hotel), stocks two kinds of chippers including new Dickinson-made one made with Belgian chocolate.