Category Archives: General

Update from HEE LKS Leads

A few points of feedback for LKS managers and teams from the meeting of the HEE Library and Knowledge Service Leads Group on 26 February:

  • Developing and making the case for an equitable funding model for NHS LKS is a current high priority. We hope to be able to engage with Trusts on our proposals during this year.
  • With the Department of Health, we are currently negotiating extension of the CLA Licence Plus for the NHS in England for a further five years from April 2018.
  • With NICE, we are progressing re-procurement of a new national core content collection from April 2019, and also exploring options for extended collaborative purchasing of e-resources. Our thinking informed by feedback from the 90% plus LKS teams who responded to our survey and provided information about local investment in e-resources – thank you!
  • Work continues on development of the new national LKS quality assurance process, which will feature a much reduced number of quality standards with associated evidence requirements, and graded levels of attainment. The process will be piloted by a small number of LKS this year.
  • Building on the work to date within the Knowledge for Healthcare Public and Patient Information work stream, it has been agreed that the role of health librarians in supporting health literacy will be the focus of this work stream for the next two years. A blog post about this will follow shortly.
  • The Workforce Planning and Development work stream has identified CPD priorities for the LKS workforce for the next two years, drawing on feedback from recent development needs analyses and a review of strategic priorities. Meanwhile, we are submitting a response about the healthcare LKS workforce to the consultation on ‘Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future’ (the draft national workforce strategy for health and care for England to 2027).
  • Three more STEP literature searching e-learning modules are now available, and a new set of knowledge management e-learning modules are in development, with the design of the knowledge management postcards being refreshed to match.
  • More #AMillionDecisions social media cards are being created, featuring quotes about the role of library knowledge specialists from senior national NHS leads. An HEE LKS presence at June’s NHS Confederation Conference will provide a further opportunity for high level advocacy, and we are delighted that a number of Knowledge for Healthcare-related papers have been accepted for this year’s HLG and EAHIL conferences.

If you have comments or queries relating to this bulletin, please contact your HEE LKS Lead.

Blockchain

Emerging Technology Group updates will be produced every 2 months, as members of the group take it in turns to update the wider NHS library community on key topics. This time, we will be discussing blockchain and its implications for health libraries.

Blockchain: what is it?

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum have been prominently featured in the media over the past 6 months or so. They are all based on the same technology: blockchain. Simply, blockchain is a secure digital record keeping system that is spread out across a large network. Information is stored in encrypted blocks which are then chained together. Information cannot be changed once it has been added to the chain, and because the chain is distributed across the whole network, it is very secure. There are more detailed explanations available on Wikipedia or from the LSE Business Review blog.

Implications for healthcare

There are a number of different ways in which blockchain could be applied in healthcare. One option which has seen significant interest is using blockchain to manage the storage and sharing of medical records, as is being explored at MIT. Till et al (2017) have also argued that blockchain could potentially be used to finance universal health coverage. Other potential applications of blockchain in healthcare could be in securely storing and tracking research metadata, global health patterns, or administrative and financial information (Gordon et al, 2017). This is an area that is seeing a lot of research and there are numerous startups exploring the opportunities available.

What about libraries?

Hoy (2017) argues that the blockchain could be used as a digital rights management (DRM) tool to aid in copyright protection. Blockchain could even potentially be used as a library management system to keep track of circulation in a decentralised way (Cabello et al, 2017). Another potential could be in the creation and maintenance of authority records for cataloguing and metadata. The project Blockchains for the Information Profession by San Jose State University is a good source of information and probably the best way to stay up-to-date in this field.

There’s always a but…

The long term viability of blockchain remains to be seen. One of the concerns that has been raised relates to the wider environmental impact of these distributed networks, which is already consuming more energy than the whole of the Republic of Ireland, although this estimate is also up for debate. In addition to this, there remain numerous barriers to the more widespread adoption of blockchain in healthcare or in libraries, not least technical issues relating to the interoperability of metadata, as well as a current lack of clarity around governance, regulation, and wider economic impact (Deshpande et al, 2017).

What can we do?

Keeping abreast of developments in this field so that we can have informed discussions with others within and outside our organisations would be a good place to start. I would argue that the proliferation of private companies leading the way in implementing blockchain in healthcare is an issue of concern. For any solutions to be sustainable in the long term, we need to be playing an active role in conversations around emerging technologies such as this.

References:

 

YiWen Hon
Knowledge Resources Manager
Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

Emerging Technology Group Update

Bah (hum) bugs.  Too many easy puns this time of the year.  Too easy…

Now where were we?  Since we last publicised our little group here at the KfH, our team members have been busy bees.  One such bee, Catherine, attended an interesting conference app-tly (like I said, too easy) named Internet Librarian International (ILI) conference.  Click here (www.swimsnetwork.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/102-Swimming-Pool-Dec-2017.pdf)

and zoom to page 6 for fantastic insights.

For moi, Lesson #1 is worth a little discussion: fad vs trend.

Hands up to those who have bought that fancy piece of technology only to realise that after one mere annum down everyone’s life, you cannot even find it in ANY bargain basement of well-known low-cost high street shops?  I share your pain.  Truly.  Minidisc anyone?

For me, fad = fashion, trend = usefulness.  To wring it another way, perceived usefulness (fad) versus real usefulness (trend).  Things that showcase as the ‘must buy’, those high-fashion colourful shiny new tech, bits that make you feel superior and full of high status.  FAKE NEWS!!  Mundane, geeky, dull stuff, those you see people quoting lots of numbers and unheard of vernacular on.  REAL NEWS!!

Augmented reality/virtuality is a trend, virtual AI assistant (store.google.com/gb/product/google_home, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Alexa,  microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/cortana ) is a trend and common to popular beliefs, VR glasses is a trend (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Glass ).  Or certainly the beginning of one.  Curved TVs are a fad, >90% screen to body ratio phones are a fad; perhaps even smart watches are a fad.

What does this mean for LKS and the NHS?  Understanding the potential and utilising technological trends is very powerful indeed.  For example:

Virtual reality has already been utilised by cool surgeons for operating on patients (bartshealth.nhs.uk/news/surgeons-use-virtual-reality-to-operate-from-different-sides-of-the-world-2171 ).  AI and voice commands are already being explored within the health sectors by politicians and web giants (www.digitalhealth.net/2017/12/artificial-intelligence-voice-technology-health-sector).

So let’s take this one step further.

What if we can have a virtual library when someone dons  a VR headset/Google Glass?  How about if we use augmented virtuality for educational purposes or to simply tour our Trust (www2.mmu.ac.uk/creativear/projects/the-box-project-mixed-reality/)? How about if we complimented all this by AI virtual assistance to help with FAQs.  I could literally see Estates jumping for joy here at the sound of this, and the cries of ICT department at the implementation.

Hindsight is something of a wonderful thing however, and sadly, I do not have an X-Men like soothsayer’s abilities to predict such outcomes.  Only time will tell.  Ahh there goes my dream of owning an island filled with quokkas.

As the once famous (?) rapper said, back to reality.  Our team look to publish on our specialist technological domains once every two months, lovingly listed below.

David :                  Future concepts (AI; algorithms; augmented reality; automation; gamification)

Yi Wen:                Digital security (encryption; digital security; privacy issues and concerns; anonymity)

Catherine:           Software and apps (FOC and low cost readily available software or programs (for individual use or a small group); mobile apps )

Alex:                      Hardware (current and upcoming hardware (e.g. 3D printers, 3D/QR barcode, iPhone X); translation of industry hardware to LKS settings (e.g. manufacturing, engineering))

Stephen:              e-Platform and delivery methods (e-learning platform (to share knowledge) e.g. using Google Docs for lecture taking; digital social space/media;             digital methods of delivery (e.g. for knowledge mobilisation))

For those who are familiar with the TLDR (too long didn’t read):

Fad = fashion, trend = useful goodness.  Look out AI assistance, VR stuff and cheap VR headsets.  Ignore curved TVs.  I will leave you with one final thought:

are e-books a fad or a trend?

Happy Christmas 🙂

David Low
Emerging Technology Group