Cath Harris from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust describes how she helped implement an online community of practice for the Speech and Language Therapists in her Trust.
I was working in the Library one day when one of the Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) leads came into the Library and asked if I could come into a meeting they were having in the Lantern Centre. The trust is geographically dispersed and there are SLT teams based across all the networks in the Trust. They are looking at creating ‘clinical hubs’ to promote discussion, knowledge sharing etc., remotely. Essentially they wanted to create an online community of practice. In the meeting I was able to discuss with them options for using different technology such as Yammer and SharePoint to facilitate this, as well as the support the Library can provide for journal clubs and evidenced based practice, which they were also interested in.
Following this meeting I was invited to speak at their professional forum. I gave a short presentation on what the Library does and our services, as well as directing them to links on our intranet site to resources for critical appraisal and journal clubs which will assist them in activities in their ‘clinical hubs’.
A few weeks after this one of the leads requested a meeting with me to discuss Yammer and SharePoint in more detail. At this point I decided to call in some technical support so invited one of the Trust’s SharePoint developers to the meeting so he could provide technical advice on using these technologies.
The Clinical Leads for SLT and the lead SharePoint developer for the Trust both became involved. The SharePoint developer is now building the team a SharePoint site on the intranet with a discussion board etc., to facilitate online discussions and create a forum.
The clinical leads were not familiar with these types of knowledge sharing technologies – they didn’t have a SharePoint site and had never used Yammer etc. They didn’t know that the Trust had a SharePoint team who were able to build this for them so putting them in touch with this contact meant they were able to put their plan into action. The online clinical hub is currently being developed by I.T. with the framework and the network areas agreed. The clinical leads are due to meet with I.T. to be trained on how to manage the hub and it will be going live at the end of August. The virtual hub has a direct link to the library service so that people in the network can easily make requests or get further information. One of the SLT leads said:
“The ability to link with the library services will ensure that our clinical hub is connected with research and development. The services the library offers mean that clinicians can request articles, literatures searches and access information to inform and drive their practice. Clinicians within the networks will be linked via the virtual hub across LCFT and work collectively to critically appraise research and work to inform each other’s practice, helping us to provide good quality care for our patients.”