Library involvement in health informatics education for health professions students and practitioners: a scoping review




health sciences libraries, educational services, librarian-educators, informatics education


Objective: The purpose of this scoping review is to evaluate the extent of library or librarian involvement in informatics education in the health domain.

Methods: We searched eight databases from their inception to 2019 for reports of informatics educational activities for health professionals or health professions students that involved library staff or resources. Two reviewers independently screened all titles/abstracts (n=2,247) and resolved inclusion decisions by consensus. From the full text of the 36 papers that met the inclusion criteria, we extracted data on 41 educational activities.

Results: The most frequent coded purposes of activities were “teaching clinical tools” (n=19, 46.3%) and “technology” (n=17; 41.5%). Medical students were the most frequent primary audience (34.1%), though 41.5% of activities had multiple audiences. Evaluation was reported for 24 activities (58.5%), only a few of which assessed short or post-activity impact on attitudes, knowledge, or skills. The most common long-term outcome was applying skills in other courses or clinical experiences. Thematic analysis yielded three areas of outcomes and issues for the library and organizational partners: expanded opportunities, technology and resource issues, and value demonstration.

Conclusions: Limited published examples of health informatics educational activities provide models for library roles in informatics education. More librarians should report on their informatics educational activities and provide sufficient details on the interventions and their evaluation. This would strengthen the evidence base about the potential impact of libraries within informatics education.

Author Biographies

Deborah L. Lauseng, University of Illinois Chicago

Regional Head Librarian & Assistant Professor, Library of the Health Sciences - Peoria, University of Illinois Chicago, Peoria, IL

Kristine M. Alpi, Oregon Health & Science University

University Librarian, OHSU Library, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR

Brenda M. Linares, University of Kansas Medical Center

School of Nursing Librarian, A. R. Dykes Library, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS

Elaine Sullo, George Washington University

Associate Director, Reference and Instruction, Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library, George Washington University, Washington, DC

Megan von Isenburg, Duke University Medical Center

Associate Dean, Library Services & Archives, Medical Center Library & Archives, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC


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Knowledge Synthesis