Quality and Impact in 2020: The Value of Knowledge and Library Services

Knowledge and Library Services take the “heavy lifting” out of getting evidence into practice and give the “gift of time” to healthcare professionals. (key message 2, The Value Proposition)

As we reflect on 2020 within the Quality and Impact Group, the first thought might be that it was the year when not everything quite went to plan… However, a tremendous amount has been achieved and we have really been able to demonstrate the impact and value of our NHS knowledge and library services and specialists. In this blog we would like to highlight some of successes over the last 12 months and ongoing developments. We would also like to say a big THANK YOU to all those involved in workstream activities and for the knowledge and library staff continuing to identify and share stories of their impact and innovation.

On 2nd November we launched our Value Proposition; the gift of time at an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meeting. The report explains how knowledge and library specialists in the NHS give the gift of time to busy healthcare professionals, taking the heavy lifting out of getting evidence into practice.

Jacque Mallender of Economics by Design, who led the research, will be hosting two webinars to present the report in the new year. This is an opportunity to listen to the presentation provided at the APPG and to ask Jacque any questions.

“The core value proposition is simple: The service provides healthcare professional staff with time-saving accelerated access to better quality evidence. This enables the NHS to meet its statutory obligations to utilize evidence from research. It enables healthcare professionals to use their time more effectively to drive improvements against the NHS quadruple aims” (key message 5, The Value Proposition

The full report can be found on the HEE website

“Informed decisions improve outcomes, quality of care, patient experience, resource utilisation and operational efficiencies. This is best achieved when healthcare professionals are supported by the right knowledge services, with the right resources and with the right teams and roles” (Key message 3, The Value Proposition)

We have continued throughout the year to receive your impact case studies, and over 100 of these have been approved. Working with our HEE communications team we have started to promote these more widely to stakeholders through twitter and LinkedIn, HEE Innovation and Transformation page. We are also now showcasing an impact case study on a monthly basis. Look out for the new format for the impact vignettes

Case studies of high performing NHS Library and Knowledge Services demonstrate two key enablers for benefits realization: that the service has a clear strategic leadership role in knowledge management and mobilisation and is integrated with service delivery” (Key message 6, The Value Proposition)

Although we had to change the submission dates, in the light of your work pressures during the pandemic, we are grateful to you all for completing the workforce and activity statistics this year. We are working to collate and analyse these and will be producing an infographics report of the key headlines. We are also working with our Business Intelligence team within HEE to develop a benchmarking dashboard based on a few key metrics. Again we plan to share this with you once completed.

When supported by high-performing Library and Knowledge Services, NHS provider organisations are able to demonstrate how they are meeting their statutory obligations to use evidence to inform practice and hence improve their CQC rating (Key message 4 The Value Proposition)

As we move into 2021, we anticipate that the baseline self-assessment of the new Quality and Improvement Outcomes Framework will go ahead. We are currently reviewing the timelines and dates for submission whilst also looking at the longer-term process.

Working with Amanda Stearn, we are in the process of updating High Profile Health Libraries, our toolkit to support advocacy. The newly updated toolkit will provide support materials, and hints and tips, to assist in positioning your service as business critical to your organisation(s).

“Assuming findings from the international literature are applicable to the NHS, the service is potentially already generating an overall economic benefit of £132m per annum for the NHS, delivering a net economic benefit of £77m per annum. This could increase to £106m per annum were targe staff ratios for librarians achieved” (Key message 9, The Value Proposition)

One of the outcomes for the quality and impact workstream is to promote knowledge and library service innovation and good practice. This year we were really pleased to see the outcome of our partnership working with CILIPs Library and Information Research Group (LIRG) to publish a special of the LIR Journal on good practice in NHS-funded library and knowledge services. Please do have a look at the good practice research and case study articles.

“There is growing and consistent body of robust international evidence to support this Value Proposition.” (Key message 7, The Value Proposition)

“Recently published research from the NHS suggests similar benefits may exist for the NHS” (Key message 8, The Value Proposition

We have also been reflecting on the achievements of the Quality and Impact workstream over the last five years. Our case study article on the outcomes of the workstream Quality Outcomes in NHS Library and Knowledge Services has just been accepted by the Performance, Measurement and Metrics Journal. Please do look out for this in the new year.

We would like to end by wishing you all a Merry Christmas
Clare Edwards and Dominic Gilroy

Workforce planning and development 2020

Like everyone we have had to adapt in this extraordinary year and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the workstream for their hard work, patience and above all adaptability this year.

CPD Group: have delivered an amazing programme this year, with more to come in the Spring: “Library Carpentry”(see below) and further workshops to develop your scanning and synthesising skills.

The third cohort of our senior leadership development programme had a virtual kick off in October and the eight participants are well on their way. With support from Maggie Woods at HEE, Tracey Pratchett has turned our former face to face programme of  workshops into a 19 module programmes.

Gil Young has been working with Jo Cornish at CILIP as part of a cross-sectoral working group setting up a Trailblazer group for a level 6/7 apprenticeship in library, information sciences and knowledge management. Gil has also been our key link into Manchester Metropolitans’ Department of Languages, Information & Communications working on the next iteration of the health libraries elective module that ran last year – this needs something of a rethink to fit in with the University’s new style of teaching.

Things to watch out for:

  • Health Education England’s Digital skills self-assessment tool which will be rolled out to the whole NHS workforce in England
  • Library Carpentry programme – providing an opportunity for participants to deepen their skills in understanding software development and data science]

You may know that I am retiring in March 2021, and already starting to focus on the things that need sorting, filing and handing on. We have a new Chair for the Workforce Planning and Development workstream as I have handed on the baton to Dominic Gilroy. Dominic is now taking the lead responsibility for this workstream. I wish him and all of you every success.

With season’s greetings,

David Stewart
Head of Library and Knowledge Services: North East and Yorkshire / North West

2020 and Covid-19: library and knowledge services getting evidence into practice

2020 has been an extraordinary year. Covid-19 has presented many challenges, particularly in phase one, including redeployment of library staff and space, IT connectivity to allow working from home and the development of virtual and digital services. However, library and knowledge staff have risen to meet and overcome these challenges, demonstrating resilience and adaptability. Messaging throughout the pandemic has been that library and knowledge staff are accessible and services have remained open for business, even if the doors to some physical spaces have been closed.

The role that library and knowledge specialists play in mobilising knowledge and evidence into practice has supported individual and organisational learning and Covid-19 decision making. This has raised the profile of library and knowledge services in many organisations.

  • Library and knowledge service managers working for the Trusts leading the Nightingales, developed tailored service offers into the new hospitals. The national HEE library and knowledge services LKS team has worked with this group of service managers to facilitate a community of practice to support learning and sharing.
  • Services have provided evidence support for Boards and supported the management of incidents by gold and silver command groups by delivering rapid evidence reviews.
  • Library and knowledge staff have used knowledge management tools to facilitate discussions and share learning for example, using After-Action Reviews to capture lessons learned and running Randomised Coffee Trials to share learning and keep staff connected.

Across the networks, we have seen greater collaborative working between services, for example through the sharing of expertise and supporting colleagues where capacity has been reduced. Collaborative working has also resulted sharing examples of Covid current awareness sharing bulletins and in the development of the Covid-19 Search Bank. Since the launch of the Search Bank in May, over 200 search strings and strategies have been published. Feedback from participants and users has been very positive and we are looking at what this experience can tell us about supporting expert searchers.

There has been a move to making greater use of technology, strengthening delivery of virtual services, including training, demonstrating a capability for rapid and agile development. Most services are now offering some type of virtual training session, and there are examples of development of online and e-learning modules to support induction and critical appraisal. The national CPD offers to develop skills in facilitating virtual meetings have been well received by library and knowledge staff.

The HEE Resource Discovery team has supported remote working by ensuring off-site access to OpenAthens administration tools. They also optimised access to the evidence-base by collating trusted evidence resources, with sources on the vaccine currently being pulled together, and signposting developments with BMJ Best Practice and access to e-books through the Kortext platform.

Library and knowledge staff have continued to provide knowledge services remotely throughout the pandemic. In May, 45% of our physical library services were either closed or open but not staffed. By October 20 this had reduced to just 11%. All services have worked with their organisations to adapt both the working and learning space within the library to ensure it is safe. Many of you have shared your approach, together with pictures of the changes including:

  • changes in layout for PC and study space
  • self-issuing systems
  • screens around library counters
  • booking systems for workstations.

Some services have added to the ways in which the library is valued by NHS staff as a wellbeing resource, creating and expanding the health and wellbeing space and collections for staff.

We are aware that there is pressure on library space in some organisations. Accordingly, we have prepared policy recommendations that emphasise the importance of library learning space, which will go to the HEE Executive for approval in January 2021.

Over the last few weeks HEE’s library and knowledge service regional teams have been ringing everyone. It has been good to catch up with you and find out what is currently happening in your services and organisations during the second wave. We will be considering all the feedback to identify any themes where areas for further support or training have been raised. In talking to you all it has been amazing to hear that, despite the challenges faced, many of you are still seeking out the opportunities in your organisations and continuing to develop the service through innovation and adopting good practice.

During the pandemic, services have captured some amazing impact stories which we are delighted to share some with you here. Working with the HEE Communications team, we have been using these to raise the profile of NHS library and knowledge services on social media. Please do continue to collect your impact case studies and share them with us.

We would like to finish this blogpost with thanks to you. Your work in mobilising evidence and knowledge to support Covid-19 decision making, supporting the health and wellbeing of NHS staff, and ensuring that accessible, evidence-based health information is made available for patients and the public, has made all for the difference to many lives during the pandemic.