MLA13 and ICML – Day 1

I’m back at work after HTAi2013 – now to start catching up on blog posts! My husband and I had a holiday before the Boston conference rather than after as we were going overseas again to Korea in June.  In NYC (which is amazing), I got a cold so was rather fuzzy-headed during MLA. I did have a good time and it was a good experience, though I didn’t do as many meets as I would have liked.  MLA was part of ICML, along with a lot of other smaller conferences, which makes for a very large attendance (3000 registrations I later found out). Most of the sessions I attended were on teaching EBM and the ICLC section sessions (which I was an official MLA blogger – I will post links to my posts).

The first session I attended was the breakfast Sunrise Seminar – JBI and systematic reviews. I arrived late as I presumed the session would allow breakfast first and then the session. Wrong! Nevermind, I did get to meet Edoardo Aromataris, whom I had been emailing a few weeks before. The first keynote of the conference was Richard Besser, a US clinician and media personality that most international delegates would not have heard of, even if he did work for the CDC (yes, we’ve heard of the CDC!). Besser talked about the CDC’s tracking of the H1N1 epidemic and said that the CDC pushed out what they knew as they found out and if they didn’t know something, they’d advertise that along with what steps they were taking to discover answers. Being invited to present snaphots about  health issues by a national broadcaster was a win for health literacy (use a retail approach eg), but what was interesting was that he avoided a political question from the audience: since the national broadcaster supports US football, are any negative health stories about football excluded or censored?

My clinical librarian colleague and friend Sarah Sutton managed to secure us seats at the EBSCO ‘lunch and learn’ session where I found out about two new products which I will investigate soon: Social Work Reference Centre and Nursing Reference Centre. The lunch was strange – some sort of vegetarian pie – I couldn’t tell what was in it.

Next on the agenda was the Clinical Librarians SIG meeting, which you can read about here. Then a tea break and then off to the Exhibitors Hall (which was very large and packed with all sorts of vendors) to watch the Dynamed technology showcase. The presentation included data from Klas Konfidence Tool that ranked Dynamed over UpToDate. It was useless to state that though as this was from a consultant’s paper that was not for public consumption. Librarians want transparent, verifiable sources! Grrr. Despite that though, it was interesting to know that Dynamed can be intergrated into EMRs – just introduce the infobutton and you can use it anywhere in the system and you don’t have to be online. We have access to Dynamed via Clinicians Health Channel. Melbourne Health where I work doesn’t have an EMR yet so once we do, this is an option we could consider introducing.

Then it was onto the last session of the day – 4.30pm to 6pm – The Role of Librarians/Informationists in the Systematic Review. This session had a lot of interest for me, mostly because I am getting more involved in systematic reviewing. The first session presented results of a study as to whether librarian authorship (rather than statements of involvement only)  increased the quality of systematic reviews published in general medicine journals. This was rated by a) a short form to identify librarian authorship and search replicability b) meeting IOM standards and c) meeting the PRESS checklist. SRs with librarian authorship were more likely to meet more IOM standards than those with involement mentions or none at all, and searches were more likely to be replicable. There are problems though that must be overcome. Where can journals store all this extra data? Limitations to this study included ascertaining librarian involvement – and there probably were SRs where a librarian was involved but not mentioned in the final product.  The other major issue with this study was that SRs with librarian authorship had, more often than not, search strategies that were more than a year old.  The following 2 sessions were about collaborative (clinicians & librarians) teaching SR methods. At Johns Hopkins University, librarians, clincians and other health professionals, collaboratively teach at graduate level, a SR course which actually involves producing a SR at the end of it. The best way to understand a process is to actually do it. Have a look at this course: Open Michigan SR course (MacEachern is the librarian instructor). The final presentation was about discovering outcomes of a SR course for librarians. Although librarians on the course didn’t increase the number of SRs they were becoming involved in to any great degree, their confidence in asking for authorship increased (and was granted!) , documetation of search processes changed, and their was a fair amount of retention of course content (the only downside was the small percentage of search strategy peer review).

It was a long day. I went back to the hotel room and wrote my blog post for the conference blog, and then joined my husband for dinner.

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