A year on after writing our project report on ‘making the case for evidence-based patient information’ the importance of evidence-based information has never been more vital. Health hasn’t been just the primary concern for health and care professionals or those individuals with health conditions, it has been the predominant topic for everybody globally.
The coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) has created, what has felt like, a new industry of information for us all to consume, digest and understand in order for us to go about our daily lives. From following the current guidance to implementing changes to our libraries so we can re-open safely. We also have a role in supporting others in providing accurate and updated information on various aspects of Covid-19 too, to help give trustworthy information to inform their own health decisions and even simple day to day actions such as travel and socialising
The findings of our project report remain as relevant now as they did when we published it;
 Evidence-based health information makes a positive contribution to the health care system. The last few months has been a time of uncertainty, creating a sense of fear and anxiety for many of us. It has been challenging to keep track of the various channels of communication to identify authoritative information as well as shining a light on ‘fake news’ about Covid-19. When headlines citing ways of avoiding getting Covid-19 ‘through eating garlic’ or the assumption ‘only older people are susceptible’ to this infection, it provides for a confusing and potentially dangerous information landscape. Engaging our critical appraisal skills can help give others the reassurance needed to locate the most appropriate information or evidence they can understand and feel confident in its accuracy.
 The need for evidence-based health information is aligned with a number of high-level strategic priorities which support shared decision-making. The Health information Week web site for 2020’s campaign listed some useful questions to consider when looking at health information, including a number of resources that can be downloaded and adapted for local use. The new NHS LKS web pages signposting members of the public to health information as well as included information and resources about Coronavirus which are easy to understand and accessible online for patients and the public alike.
 Library and Knowledge Services have a key role to play in influencing how health information is produced and delivered within local trusts. Since writing our report there has been a new UK-wide quality standard developed by the Patient Information Forum, TICK which can help us guide others in what they must do in order to provide robust and accurate patient information, one of the components being that it must be evidence based, to further make the case for this and highlight the contribution we can make.
 Sharing learning and experience across our networks – throughout the last few months NHS Library and Knowledge Services have demonstrated the benefits of sharing resources on Covid-19. Literature searches and lists of resources have been made widely available by local services so others can tap into more tailored and topics-specific information to support health and care professionals manage the tsunami of Covid-19 related information.
It would be good to hear examples of where NHS LKS have supported patients either directly or through those providing information to patients virtually during the pandemic.
How do we capture new learning and break down some of physical barriers highlighted in our report?
Emily Hopkins, Health Education England
Deena Maggs, The King’s Fund
Victoria Treadway, NHS RightCare
Vicki Veness, Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Jacqui Watkeys, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust
Suzanne Wilson, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust