Making Connections at NAHSL 2016

November 29, 2016 at 8:38 am | Posted in Awards and Recognition, Professional Development | Leave a comment

goodmanKaren Goodman from the Dorothy M. Breene Memorial Library at New Hampshire Hospital wrote the following blog post.  She serves on the NAHSL Continuing Education Committee and is another winner of NAHSL’s Professional Development award.  Congratulations, Karen and thank you for sharing your NAHSL 2016 experience with the our membership.


Once again, through the generosity of the NAHSL Professional Development Committee, I had the pleasure of attending the 2016 annual conference. These conferences provide such a great opportunity to not only connect and learn so much from our colleagues, but we also get to listen to a number of superb presentations.

Each of the plenary speakers provided us with very informative sessions, and Dr. Jack Hughes presentation on “Access, Costs & Quality: The Iron Triangle of Healthcare” really captured my attention, as I know so very little about why the costs of the U.S. healthcare system continue to rapidly increase despite the implementation of the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Using the visual of the “ Iron Triangle” (costs-access-quality) to illustrate the inherent trade-offs in the healthcare system, Dr. Hughes very eloquently explained why we can’t do everything for everyone without controlling costs and utilization. So while he indicated that “…the first obligation of a country is to avoid extreme suffering…” and that there is a need to expand affordable healthcare access to all, stabilize funding sources and find more ways to contain costs, a decision must be made by society as to whether to pay for healthcare for all…a very tough discussion indeed.  Now, I finally could make the connection between the cost of care, the rise in insurance rates and the perception or in many cases the reality of diminished services.  I can only hope that my summarization did justice to this very complicated subject.

On a lighter note, our next plenary speaker, Ms. Susan Keane Baker, kept us entertained with a lively and dynamic presentation on how you can use customer service tactics to differentiate your library. I can attest to the fact that yes,” Speed Stuns,” as I do try in earnest to fulfill ILL requests as rapidly as possible.  And when you do, it really is quite the Wow factor.  It not only impresses your patrons, but they in turn extoll your virtues to others, helping to create additional connections and keeping your library in the forefront of their minds when the next research task comes about.   Susan left us with a great piece of advice called the Two-Minute Rule:  if you can take care of something in 2 minutes—do it.  It will lower your stress, and impress others with your customer service prowess.  I tried it.  It works!

Our third plenary speaker, William Powers, provided us with a great discussion entitled “Data for Humans: A Healthier Revolution” explaining MIT’s Electome Project and how Data and Science together equals better journalism and eventually better elections.  A prime example is how his group analyzes Twitter conversations about the election.  He is also conducting research on how humans are forgotten in the rise of technology and whether it is a healthy revolution that is taking society to a better place.  I was intrigued by his use of the phrase “Internet Sabbath” that means we should take some time to go off line in order to reconnect with family and friends.  Everything in moderation, right?  I have added his book Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age to my list of must-reads.

But perhaps the key takeaway for me as a solo librarian was the opportunity to just network, and to spend time socializing with fellow medical and health sciences librarians, learning from them while at the same time building stronger professional connections.  A big “Thank You” to Jeannine Gluck and the entire NAHSL 2016 team for creating such a fun and informative conference!

Karen Goodman, MSLIS, MA

Medical Librarian

Dorothy M. Breene Memorial Library

New Hampshire Hospital



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