Library Associate III Preston Medical Library Knoxville, Tennessee
Objectives: To analyze the University of Tennessee's Preston Medical Library / Health Information Center library’s consumer health request database to evaluate the impact a library’s move inside of the hospital made in regards to reaching the 21 counties the hospital serves. Additionally, researchers assessed which counties and zip codes requested the most health information as well as the number of requests from zip codes with high poverty levels.
Methods: Researchers downloaded data from the Consumer and Patient Health Information System (CAPHIS) database, located on a hospital server. Data has been collected in this database since 1997. Requests are labeled with a form identification number, which allows for personal names to be deleted, thus helping to preserve anonymity. The request forms were sorted and reviewed by county and zip code. Researchers separated data into pre-move and post-move sets. Data will be inputted into Tableau to create maps, visually showing where the largest concentrations of patrons are located as well as associated poverty rates based on zip code within the hospital's 21 county service area.
Results: There were 3,141 health information requests from September 21, 2014 to May 31, 2019, representing a substantial increase over the old location. Ninety-nine results were omitted due to being out-of-state. The majority of requests were from Knox county and adjacent counties. Requests were also received from counties not previously reached and counties with elevated poverty levels. Several local zip codes that had previously not been reached or had very few requests before the library's move now reported substantial use.
Conclusions: Collecting data on patron interactions is not only critical for institutional reporting, but also for community outreach. Understanding that data requires taking additional steps to ask precise questions, filter the information, assess local demographics, and provide quality data in a visual format for institutional representatives. Researchers anticipate being able to better tailor services to the community based on the results.