University of South Florida

Florida Blue Health Knowledge Exchange



A library is traditionally thought of as a place kept under strict orders of silence and is filled with wall-to-wall books that have a nostalgic, musty smell. While group study rooms are available, they are not the central focus.

The Florida Blue Health Knowledge Exchange is the future of medical libraries: an epicenter of collaboration and technology. Located on the second-floor mezzanine of the new USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute (MCOM+HI) in Water Street Tampa, the Florida Blue Health Knowledge Exchange is an almost completely digital database of medical information. At this time, there are only 18 physical books reserved for MCOM’s use in the Knowledge Exchange.

“Resources are available wherever our students and faculty are and 24/7,” said Rose Bland, MA, MPA, AHIP, director of the Shimberg Health Sciences Library at USF Health. “Libraries are changing for what the needs of the people are. We do need quiet spaces, but the Knowledge Exchange is meant to be a place where people can meet and collaborate.”


Floorplan of the Florida Blue Health Knowledge Exchange; part of the second-floor mezzanine in the new USF Health Morsani College of Medicine + Heart Institute.

Some of the other exciting features of the Knowledge Exchange are a large-scale video visualization wall for multimedia presentations, an executive-style reading room, public-use computers, an IT help desk, and a space for technology demonstrations and recording lectures for online learning. A medical database that is wherever you need it to be is also an important asset for distance-learning students and staff spread across multiple campuses. Beyond the access to the digital database, “there will be digital-learning tutorials created by the librarians on topics, such as how to do a quick search in PubMed or how to use EndNote, that students can access when they are studying at one in the morning and they need a quick refresher,” said Larry L. Cramer, Jr, assistant director of library operations. Students and staff can also use the video conferencing capabilities outfitted in the Knowledge Exchange for a Microsoft Teams session or watch a live, face-to-face screen capture tutorial by a librarian.

The visualization wall is an interactive screen that can be used in its entirety to give presentations or be broken up into sections for multi-use collaborations, including annotations, web browsing and rotating 3D models.

“Keeping pace with the rapidly evolving world of health data and technology is critical in today’s health care environment. The Florida Blue Health Knowledge Exchange is aptly named, as it will serve that goal by facilitating information sharing and collaboration among students, health professionals and entrepreneurs,” said Florida Blue CEO Pat Geraghty in a 2017 interview with USF Health Development after giving a $1 million gift to support the Health Knowledge Exchange. “USF and the Tampa Bay community are well positioned to be a center of health knowledge and learning. We are very proud to be a part of this public facility, which aligns so closely with our own mission of helping people and communities achieve better health.”

The Florida Blue Knowledge Exchange offers digital access to a medical database and 5,000 sq. ft. of space for collaboration.

The 5,000-square foot space is not only a resource for Morsani College of Medicine and Taneja College of Pharmacy students, but also Heart Institute researchers, USF Health and Tampa General Hospital patients, residents and the downtown community. Dedicated research librarians for each area will be available in the Knowledge Exchange but they are also a central part of the building as a whole. Librarians will go into the lecture hall and around the collegia spaces to work and meet with the students. Rose Bland imagines being able to see a health care provider and a Heart Institute researcher meeting together in the Knowledge Exchange and pulling in a librarian for collaboration.

A spectacular view of Water Street Tampa can be seen from inside the Executive Reading Room.

The Florida Blue Knowledge Exchange expands the research and education support of the Shimberg Library, which will remain open at the USF Health Tampa campus. SonoSim check out will be the only resource that is removed from the Shimberg Library and brought to Water Street Tampa. The Tampa Bay community can look forward to a grand opening of MCOM+HI in early 2020.

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