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Prior to April 2006, inequities in access to health knowledge resources existed across BC. Although it was widely recognized that safety, quality, effectiveness, and efficiency in the delivery of health care were linked to evidence-based practice, no plan existed to ensure that every health care provider, student, and researcher across the province would have access to a common, equitable set of health knowledge tools.
In May of 2003, the CEO of the BC Academic Health Council (BCAHC) convened a meeting of library and administration representatives to review past and current efforts at a provincially coordinated licensing of health library eresources. The BCAHC is a federation of independent and publicly funded health care and post-secondary organizations in BC, as well as related Government ministries, and it functions primarily as a networking and facilitating agency. It coordinates and administers collaborative initiatives in order to optimize the effectiveness of relationships among health practitioners, health educators, and health researchers and their respective organizations.
Although several groups and individuals (e.g. the Health Libraries Association of BC, the University Librarian of UBC, and the Head Librarian at the then University College of the Cariboo) had previously developed proposals or discussion papers to address the disparities, coordinating licensing of health library resouces across BC finally gained momentum at this time. This initial meeting was the inception of the current e-HLbc concept. Two and a half years later, in January 2006, the consortium Electronic Health Library of BC (e-HLbc) was formed to purchase province-wide access to selected resources (databases, indexes, abstracts, and full-text).
On April 1, 2013, e-HLbc was transferred from the BCAHC to Simon Fraser University. The transition to a new home was prompted by the dissolution of the BCAHC. Housed at SFU Library, e-HLbc continues to provide province-wide, equitable access to health resources to a growing membership representing all health students, researchers, educators and practitioners in British Columbia.
Using e-HLbcs resources to access online medical journals actually helped me save a patients life. A hospital nurse asked me to look at a patients leg wound. I had never seen necrotizing fasciitis before, but felt that was what was happening. I went back to my office, quickly looked up the condition through e-HLbc and found out my hunch was correct. I notified the patients doctor and she was sent for immediate surgery.
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