Objectives: California has long used legislation to drive social justice in medicine. Laws passed to further continuing medical education (CME) have served to strengthen CME programs in the medical community. CME is also employed to teach professionals how to understand and communicate with patients from diverse backgrounds. Hospital librarians are valuable assets to CME programs. Often tasked with providing resources to augment CME presentations, librarians are empowering physicians to help diverse and socially disadvantaged patients achieve optimal health. This research will explore hospital librarian's support of culturally competent care and California Assembly Bill 1195 at a large healthcare organization.
Methods: This study gathered examples and data of culturally competent education assistance provided by librarians from 2012 to 2019. The authors focused on assistance provided to CME committee members, CME presenters, and CME coordinators. Surveys were administered to both librarians who provide literature searches for CME activities and for those who coordinate CME activities at their affiliated hospitals. Each survey was created to gain insight on the involvement between the librarians at the various KP hospitals and their associated CME departments.
Results: With the implementation of a shared reference platform in 2012, California regions began collecting data on cultural and linguistic competency (CLC) reference activities. As of 2019, 1496 CLC activities were supported. The assistance provided was largely made up of literature searches. A total of 31 surveys were sent to librarians in both hospital regions in Northern and Southern California. Questions focused on how librarians received requests from their respective CME departments, what types of information were presented for CME activities, and how searches were conducted. Survey data showed all respondents reported receiving assistance from the librarians in their medical centers. CME planners were also asked if the help received was beneficial to meeting the intent of California Assembly Bill 1195. Most respondents reported the assistance as extremely beneficial to patient centered care.
Conclusion: Hospitals continue to care for increasingly diverse populations shaped by patients with varied social and cultural backgrounds. Providing health professionals with culturally competent information resources serves to improve the quality of care provided to our patients. This research unveiled how librarians’ support of culturally competent care, inclusivity, and diversity is beneficial to health care professionals. Such support has the potential to save CME presenters’ research time while satisfying the mandate of AB1195.