Tag Archives: innovation

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.

2018 Call for Innovations

Following some excellent entries to the Sally Hernando Innovation Awards last year, we are pleased to invite entries for the 2018 awards.  Once again, we want to hear about the new and innovative ideas Library and Knowledge services have been introducing over the past few years.

Feedback to several services last year was that their innovations were so new that there had been no time to undertake an evaluation – an essential element of the new process.  We would especially welcome re-submission of any of these projects where evaluation has now taken place.

The innovation form has been slightly revised this year to include a champion or witness statement from colleagues within your organisation who have worked with you on the innovations.  Please make sure that you use the latest version of the entry form on the blog.

Maria Grant has kindly agreed to select the winners of the award again this year.  We hope to announce the results of the 2018 awards to coincide with Libraries Week in October and there will be funding for the winners to present their innovations at HLG or a similar UK conference.

The new innovations form, guidance, and submission process can be found on the Knowledge for Healthcare Blog

The deadline for entries for the 2018 awards is Friday 9th March 2018

We look forward to hearing from you.

Dominic Gilroy
NHS LKS Development Manager Yorkshire and Humber
dominic.gilroy1@nhs.net

Joanne Naughton
NHS LKS Development Manager North East
joanne.naughton1@nhs.net

Share your innovations

We are pleased to announce that following a break during 2016 the Sally Hernando Innovation Awards are back.  We want to hear about the new and innovative ideas Library and Knowledge services have been introducing over the past few years.  We know there are lots of them.

You will notice a change in the process for 2017 including an increased emphasis on evaluation. Ideas are great, but we want to know about what happened when you put them into practice.  Learning from your experiences helps other services to identify which innovations may work for them, and helps them to avoid pitfalls that you may already have overcome.

We plan to announce the results of the 2017 awards to coincide with Libraries Week in October and there will be funding for the winners to present their innovations at HLG or a similar UK conference.

The new innovations form, guidance, and submission process can be found on the Knowledge for Healthcare Blog

The deadline for entries for the 2017 awards is Friday 12th May

So don’t delay –submit today!

Dominic Gilroy
NHS LKS Development Manager Yorkshire and Humber
dominic.gilroy1@nhs.net

Joanne Naughton
NHS LKS Development Manager North East
joanne.naughton1@nhs.net