Tag Archives: Evidence

Fake News, Evidence Ignored and Knowledge Dismissed

We cannot fail to notice, both professionally and personally, the discussions taking place about information, evidence and knowledge.  How information is used, misinformation shared, known evidence dismissed and knowledge withheld.

One example of fake news was described on Newsnight on August 23rd 2017*. An American travelled 500 miles with a rifle to “self-investigate” a pizza restaurant where an alleged paedophile ring operated and kept under-age children against their will. This news had been reported widely in print and on social media. The source of this news was an investigation into the emails of Hillary Clinton’s personal campaign manager. It was reported that the emails contained the words “cheese pizza” which were thought to be code for “child p-graphy”. The two words shared the same initial letters: c and p. Three shots were fired in the restaurant, there were no under-age children being held and thankfully no-one was hurt.

As we can see from the fake news story, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” (itself a misquote from the poet Alexander Pope) but knowledge can also empower us, enable us to say “no”, to achieve, to understand, to form judgements and to make decisions.

We work every day to collect and supply information, signpost evidence and ensure knowledge is mobilised and used in our organisations.  We enable evidence to be used in decision-making, we support the growth of knowledge rich organisations as well as delivering training to help staff critically appraise or discern the usefulness and validity of information. It is that learnt skill that enables wise choices and the avoidance of “fake news”, or in our terms, weak evidence.

But we also need to turn the spotlight on ourselves and ask ourselves questions too.

How do we use information, evidence and knowledge? What is the weak evidence that we use to justify our policies and practices? What are the knowledge needs, preferences and behaviours of the healthcare staff, students, patients and public who use our services? To help us understand these knowledge needs and preferences, two librarians in the South have created a bulletin for us to use.  Please read the bulletin, critically appraise what is included and collectively and individually let’s constructively challenge one another to ensure that facts matter, evidence is crucial and knowledge enables good decisions to be made.

The bulletin will be produced four times a year in September, November, January and March. It will be circulated via your library and knowledge services leads, so look out for the September edition due very soon.

Sue Robertson
Knowledge Services Development Lead (South)

* Eugene Robinson. Newsnight. 23rd August 2017 https://subsaga.com/bbc/news/newsnight/2017/08/23.html

 

A million decisions a day

Today is the pre-launch of a joint campaign by Health Education England (HEE) and CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals,  highlighting the multiple beneficial outcomes when health service providers work closely with their library and knowledge services.

Every day across the healthcare sector in England more than a million decisions are made that have a profound and lasting impact on people’s lives and which influence the quality of healthcare and the cost of services.

HEE and CILIP are campaigning for decisions in the healthcare sector to be fully evidence-based, calling on government and health service providers to employ and make use of the skills of librarians and knowledge specialists in meeting their obligations under The Health and Social Care Act 2012.

Under the Act, The Secretary of State for Health must ensure ‘the use in the health service of evidence obtained from research’. It also places a responsibility on Clinical Commissioning Groups and healthcare providers to make use of the best available evidence in their decision-making. Arms length bodies and those commissioning or influencing healthcare services have a responsibility to promote and monitor the use of evidence-based decision making.

The campaign

HEE and CILIP are working together to support decision-makers and those delivering health services to meet their obligations under the Act.

Submit an NHS impact case study

We are encouraging all Library and Knowledge specialists to submit a case study that demonstrates the impact of NHS Library & Knowledge Services in England.  Please submit a case study now.

To find out more and support the campaign #amilliondecisions please visit www.cilip.org.uk/amilliondecisions

 

STPs and Patient Information

Having read the recent blog from Imrana Ghumra and Sue Lacey Bryant on “10 big questions for STPs. One big question for LKS” I decided to email my trust’s lead on the local STP.

Using the key themes from the 10 big questions I outlined how I felt the library could support him and the wider team. I was keen to emphasis how the library could support the team with evidence and current awareness . I ended with a section on how NHS libraries are supporting patient and public information to tie in with the STP health and wellbeing agenda.

To my surprise I got a request by return email for a meeting.

My next surprise was his main interest: patient and public information. He had little interest in our other key skills and offers but focussed the whole conversation on how the library could contribute to the local preventative medicine and health and wellbeing strategies.

For those of us already engaged in PPI this may be another avenue to explore. The STP may enable your service to have collaboration with the wider healthcare community, the public library health offer and also have direct input into patient and public health information at a trust and local level.

Further to the PPI work I am already engaged in, I have already started a conversation with the Lead on Patient Information on how we might use patient letters for health information.

My experience is not an isolated one as I discovered in a conversation with Natasha Howard. Natasha said “I seem to be having more and more conversations about provision of patient and public information, and how the library team can support this work. In the last few weeks it has come up in conversations and emails with clinicians and one of the public health teams that we are contracted to provide services to. I’m due to speak to colleagues in Procurement about how we might contribute to reducing spending on print information for service users. Our accountant has also picked up on our potential in this area. Following discussion of the role of information in prevention and improving outcomes, she suggested that we could write a good business case for funding to recruit a Patient Information Librarian.”

Carol-ann Regan, Library and Knowledge Services Manager, Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

Natasha Howard, Library Manager, Aubrey Keep Library, North East London NHS Foundation Trust