Monday, November 17, 2008

Fundraising: challenge

My agreement with Herzl was that they would pay for a 2-year pilot project after which, if all went well, we would seek external support. Those two years are up in April of 2009, so finally the time has arrived for me to do some serious fundraising.

The good news is that the service is thriving. I have a steady stream of referrals, as well as direct requests from patients and from health professionals. The web site is being well used with somewhere in the ball park of 400 visits per month.* I am now in charge of managing the clinic's pamphlet collection which is steadily growing (I'm starting to run out of room), and which I supplement with handouts I have been developing on various topics.**

And there has been an exciting new development. Last week one of the GP's suggested that we test out a way for me to further integrate my service. This suggestion was made after reading a preprint of a forthcoming PLoS paper, which the authors kindly agreed to share with me, and which I will provide a link to once it is published. The research shows that a "just-in-time" librarian information service had a positive impact on "time, decision-making, cost savings and satisfaction" in primary care.*** While this just-in-time service works quite differently from mine (clinical questions are sent to librarians using hand-held devices) it still provides compelling evidence of the positive impact a point-of-care information service can have on clinical practise.

In the case of our service, the idea is that I spend some time in the teaching room so that I can participate in cases as they occur and provide support and instruction to residents in "real time" so to speak. I spent a few hours in the teaching room last week and it was a great success all around. I learned a lot about what really goes on in consultations and was able to see ways in which I could be of service, the residents were able to benefit from my immediate support and in some cases were visibly relieved to have me there. And I have to admit, it was very cool to be able to really be a member of the team. If we can replicate this with some of the other teaching doctors, I would like to make it a regular component of the service.

All this to say that it would be lovely to be able to continue developing what is a unique and cutting edge service, one that has the potential to positively impact the quality of care being provided at the clinic.

I am new to the fundraising process, which I am hoping will not be a liability. So far, aside from continuing to develop the service and the website, I have been in touch with the hospital's foundation, and with public affairs who will be helping me to increase visibility of the service. I have also begun compiling a list of foundations and potential donors but I fear that I won't have the time to follow up on that.

If any of my readers has suggestions or knows anyone who might be interested in being a donor please don't hesitate to contact me.

* I am not a statistician so I don't have the exact figures. The content management software we use allows us to keep track of unique visits to each page, which if I add them up amount to over 400 visits, however I am sure that each visitor is going to more than one page. This is why I say visits and not visitors, though I'm sure that statistically I am not quite correct.

** These handouts consist of recommended online resources on various topics, such as Teen health, Pregnancy, Menopause etc. which one of the GP's at the clinic has requested. They are available on our website as well.

*** McGowan J, Hogg W, Campbell C, Rowan M. Just-in-time information improved decision-making in primary care: a randomized controlled trial. PLoS. Forthcoming 2009. [I will have to verify the correct publication date]

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