Friday, October 26, 2007

What not to feed gout & whose pager is it anyway?: case



I am at the library helping to conduct a workshop for a small group of residents. They are reviewing how to use selected EBM resources to answer clinical questions and a couple of the cases at the end of the session are specifically related to providing health information to patients and families. This is why I have agreed to assist during a time when I would normally be on site and available to patients. It is also an opportunity to promote the service to residents, who have so far been extremely enthusiastic about using the service. A short way into the workshop a beeper goes off. After a moment's pause I realize it's mine. I excuse myself to call in and am told that a patient is waiting for me at the clinic which is in an entirely separate building. I run over to the clinic and arrive slightly out of breath to find a young woman waiting for me. Her father's physician would like him to have some information about which foods to avoid when suffering from Gout.


I do a quick search on MedlinePlus and find a link to the Arthritis Foundation that answers the question (literally since it is a Q&A from the Arthritis Foundation's consumer health magazine Arthritis Today, in the On call section). I ask if she thinks her father would like more information and shen answers that for now she thinks it will be enough and will contact me if she or her father have more questions. I run back to the library in time to cover the 2 cases that deal with the information needs of patients and families.


In this case what is interesting is not so much the information need or how it was met, but rather the challenge that was presented by the fact that I was engaged in other aspects of my position which required that I be off-site during a time when I would normally be available to patients. In the end my having a pager helped to resolve the issue to everyone's satisfaction and the timing worked out just right. Had the person been unable or unwilling to wait the ten minutes it took for me to arrive on site, an opportunity to provide the service would have been lost. This has already happened once so far. The fact that a librarian was paged in a room full of physicians was an added bonus! I could not have found a better way to promote the service than that.

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