Implementing Knowledge for Healthcare

Dear colleagues,

The first phase of implementing Knowledge for Healthcare has taken us from 2015 to 2020. I write to keep you in the loop about our current work and as we move into the next stages, refreshing the Knowledge for Healthcare strategy for 2021 and beyond.

The contribution of evidence and health information has never been more significant than in these quite extraordinary times – and this underlines our commitment to ensuring we keep the work on track. It is progressing to time.

Direction of Travel

Following feedback from Library Services Managers in 2019, discussions in network meetings earlier this year, and from our thinking within HEE, we are reaffirming the direction of travel of Knowledge for Healthcare. This remains unchanged and focused on ensuring the right knowledge and evidence are used at the right time in the right place.

“NHS bodies, their staff, learners, patients and the public use the right knowledge and evidence, at the right time, in the right place, enabling high quality decision-making, learning, research and innovation to achieve excellent healthcare and health improvement.” Knowledge for Healthcare Vision, 2015

Going forward you will see a continuing emphasis on these themes: Health Literacy and Patient Information underpinned by digital literacy, Mobilising Evidence and Knowledge across the NHS, Resource Discovery to optimise investment in digital resources; building a Workforce that is diverse, inclusive and digitally confident and, not least the Quality and Impact of library and knowledge services.

Keeping You in the Loop

I attach our Plan on a Page for the HEE team during 2020/21 and also a ppt update which depicts the direction for the coming years.

We find it helpful to use Driver Diagrams as a strategic planning tool to frame the direction. Each diagram sets out the “primary driver” we are working towards, followed by the “secondary drivers” and then specific “interventions” which we believe will deliver on these.

Finally, the level of engagement in Knowledge for Healthcare by health library and knowledge services staff across England has been remarkable. Thank you. By all means come back to us with any queries or comments. Please contact your regional lead as your first port of call:

With every good wish,
Sue Lacey Bryant

Health Information Week Promotional Resources – new for 2020

As Health Information Week 2020 is fast approaching (6th-12th July), we’d like to update you about the new Health Information Week promotional resources that are now available to you. Please feel free to start to use them to promote any events or campaigns you are running as part of #HIW2020.

In the Resources section of the new website, you will find

  • A wide variety of poster templates
  • Our logo for you to use and some branding guidelines, including the codes for the HIW colours, to make things easier for you
  • There is also a collection of fonts for you to download to make your posters and promotional materials stand out and be identifiable as #HIW2020. Information on how download and install the fonts is also available
  • The Reading Agency has created a Social Media Toolkit for #HIW2020; this is aimed at public libraries, but the information in the toolkit is very useful and can be brought into your setting. We would recommend reading through this

When running and promoting your events, please use the hashtag #HIW2020 and tag us in your tweets, @HealthInfoWeek

If you have any queries about the new resources and templates, please email us: Healthinfoweek@gmail.com.

We are looking forward to seeing all your work next week!

A Glimpse of the Future – Iris.ai in Mersey Care Evidence Service

As an information professional I feel duty bound to continually improve the service I deliver and as a manager I feel it is my responsibility to drive change in my services instead of waiting for change to happen to us. Feeling buoyed by our success in launching our browser extension Lean Library in 2019 we began to explore implementing some form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into our service.

When researching AI options we backed away from a customer facing search tool as this technology currently lacks the sophistication to handle more than two search terms. Also within the service we already offer our users a variety of access points into the evidence base: HDAS, Discovery tool, our browser extension. So, we had to ask ourselves whether adding another search tool would benefit our users or overwhelm them?

We began to think more deeply about how AI could benefit our service. The primary focus of our team is the creation of evidence reviews: a rapid synthesised literature search available to anyone in the organisation. They are increasingly popular and while our Trust has doubled in size over the last few years the Evidence Service staff numbers have remained static. This growing tension between demand and supply led us to explore whether there was anyway AI could help us in carrying out these searches; this led us to Iris.ai.

We are the first NHS organisation to use Iris, a “young” AI with a primary function of Chemistry R&D although throughout the pandemic it has been used for COVID-19 research. The software is currently made up of two elements called Explore and Focus, Focus mode is essentially a way of refining your search results so below I will focus on the Explore mode; the search function of Iris.

We bought Iris in an off-the-shelf format; it has read and continues to read all Open Access papers (there is a more expensive option which allows it to read all your online holdings). In reading papers Iris can understand keywords, concepts, context and relationships which it can then map against all the other papers it has read. This theoretically changes the nature of searching as the AI will be able to identify relevant papers that might not contain the keywords used in a more traditional search.

The first thing to note when using Iris is that it uses natural language processing (NLP). Essentially, the software wants you to type your question in a normal, fluent format. This is a seismic change for librarians used to honing search questions to the bare number of keywords; Iris wants you to enter between 300 to 500 words. When inputting your question Iris is identifying keywords and context that it will match in the information it has read. A library user isn’t going to deliver their search question in this format so the librarian either needs a strong understanding of the subject area or a dialogue with the user to get the context that IRIS needs to function. On submitting a search question IRIS will create a fingerprint of your results comprised of concepts it has identified.

Fig 1. Iris concept map

At this stage you can download all results or click into concept cells and see the papers Iris has identified for you, clicking into a paper gives you the option for Iris to search for related papers. In this image the 76% is the relevancy score Iris has attached to a specific paper.

Fig 2. Sample result

At this point you can begin to remove unhelpful terms, promote more helpful terms and apply limits such as date or relevancy percentage. Applying any filter creates a modified concept map.

Fig 3 search limiters

Fig 4 hierarchy screen

We negotiated our deal with Iris at the start of 2020 with a start date of 1st April; so as with many things our use has been affected by COVID-19 as our team priorities shifted and our opportunity for collaborative learning decreased. In this current state the software is a very specialised tool, in no way intended for your library user or student and even for information professionals it presents a steep learning curve asking us to reformulate questions in a way that might feel unnatural to us. We use Iris concurrently with HDAS; so in this sense it is not saving us research time however it does add depth to our searches finding relevant papers that are not returned through standard methods.

As I mentioned earlier Iris is still “young” at version 6.0 and will continue to develop and grow, with an exciting future already outlined. Essentially we are asking not what Iris can do for us today but what we may do together in the future. Moreover investing in Iris, and our other technologies has not only directly benefitted the service but has also help change the perception and profile of the evidence service in the wider organisation, in this sense embodying change, progress and technology can never be a wasted investment.

Andrew Cheney
Evidence Services Lead
Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
www.evidentlybetter.org
@evidentlybetter