Category Archives: Service Transformation

STEP: Phase 2 e-learning modules now available!

As you know, we’ve been developing a suite of literature searching modules for you to use as part of the information skills training you offer.

In November we launched the first three modules, ‘Building the Foundations’, to help users to assess their level of skill in literature searching, find out more about the resources available to them and start planning a search.

The second phase of the project ‘Developing the skills’ includes three modules supporting users to apply a range of searching techniques to find relevant articles quickly and easily.

Please feel free to place these links on your websites use the attached flier to promote the modules. Don’t forget that we also developed animations to help users apply OR/AND in their searches. These can be included in training sessions or added to your web sites:

The final module on ‘Applying the skills’ will be launched in April 2018.

Attached are some FAQs about the modules which you may find helpful and our update from 12th January 2018 outlines how the modules have been used and addresses some early feedback.

If you require further information, please contact the project leads:

Tracey Pratchett, Knowledge and Library Services Manager, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust tracey.pratchett@lthtr.nhs.uk

Sarah Lewis, Library Services Manager, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust sarah.lewis@buckshealthcare.nhs.uk

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.

Taking a Forward View

“Knowledge specialists can play a pivotal role in mobilising knowledge and evidence effectively” so states the article Forward view: advancing health library and knowledge services in England in the March 2018 edition of the Health Information and Libraries Journal.  As part of a series of articles exploring international perspectives and initiatives, new directions for health library and knowledge services in England are considered.

Sue Lacey Bryant and colleagues explore how we will meet user expectations and examine access to digital content and services.  The ongoing need for information skills training and provision of attractive learning spaces for collaboration and knowledge sharing is acknowledged.  Steps already being taken to empower patients and the public are described including collaboration with the voluntary sector and public libraries to facilitate access to high-quality patient information.   As traditional tasks around evaluating and targeting evidence to update colleagues becomes increasingly mechanised so time is released for knowledge specialists to take on more embedded roles encouraging knowledge and learning to be shared more effectively.  Funding and quality are discussed and the shift in focus from counting to demonstrating the impact of services on organisational objectives and patient outcomes is explained.  An exploration of the work taking place to develop the workforce who will deliver the transformed library and knowledge services of the future is included.

In conclusion it is predicted that there is “a bright future in which librarians’ expertise is used to mobilise evidence, manage and share knowledge, support patients, carers and families, optimise technology and social media and provide a keystone for improved patient care and safety”.

To find out more read the full article. (CILIP HLG Members can access the journal as part of their membership entitlement)

Lacey Bryant, S. et al. 2018. Forward view: advancing health library and knowledge services in England.  Health Information and Libraries Journal, Volume 35, Issue 1, p. 70–77