Tag Archives: Evidence

The Sustainability and Evidence Mobilisation (STEM)Club

Background:

The STEMClub is an informal group of NHS and public health colleagues working cooperatively to support the mobilisation of evidence at the system-wide level in the north east of England.

We are trying to achieve this aim in two ways:

    • By making links to system-level work streams within the North East and Cumbria Partnership, and potentially beyond.
    • By providing both virtual and real, in person, opportunities to connect as a group and understand who is working on what, making effective use of our collective knowledge and insights.

The founding members of STEMClub have been enthused by the level of interest and commitment among colleagues from commissioning, public health and library and knowledge services (LKS) to a collaborative, system-wide approach.

Work to date:

The working model so far has been to identify work streams within the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) with an evidence need and match these to NHS library and knowledge services (LKS) staff who have volunteered to support with evidence searches. LKS staff are currently supporting work in the following areas:

    • Development of a frailty framework
    • Maternal choice in perinatal care
    • Mental health

There have also been two community-of-practice events attended by colleagues from across the NHS. The main themes emerging from these events are:

    • This is a bottom up “movement” which needs to be led by its members.
    • It needs input from policy-makers, decision-makers to help members to understand the priorities and shape the offer.
    • The Club offer needs to be defined and articulated
    • The question of “how to sustain momentum and keep moving forward?” is a recurring theme.

What will success look like?

There is evidence to show that commissioners are currently ad hoc users of research evidence and that interventions tried so far to improve uptake and use of research have had little or no impact. The ambition of STEMClub is to change the NHS decision-making culture:

At every decision-making table, there will be someone with the skills, experience and knowledge to ensure that decisions are informed by relevant evidence.

What are the next steps?

    • Club members need to broaden the network and work more closely with colleagues from the AHSN and other academic partners.
    • Most of the resource and expertise required to achieve the aims of STEMClub will be in kind. In order to reach out to more work-streams, we need to scale up the activity and make it sustainable. This may require funding.
    • There will be a need for coordination of activity and some infrastructure to support the sharing of evidence and searches. This is being explored currently.
    • NHS LKS staff are going through additional skills development to support this work and ongoing development will be required. Opportunities for mentoring support will also be explored.

 

Shona Haining Head of Research & Evidence North of England Commissioning Support s.haining@nhs.net

Tom Hall Director of Public Health, South Tyneside tom.hall@southtyneside.gov.uk

Mark Lambert Consultant in Specialised Services Public Health (North East and Cumbria) mark.lambert2@nhs.net

Joanne Naughton Library and Knowledge Services Development Manager, HEE joanne.naughton@hee.nhs.uk

David Stewart Director of Health Library and Knowledge Services, North, HEE david.stewart@hee.nhs.uk

Paul Wilson Senior Research Fellow, Manchester University paul.wilson@manchester.ac.uk

Positive feedback for the Synthesising and Summarising Courses

Well over 250 library and knowledge specialists attended part or all of a training bundle on synthesising and summarising.  The courses combined face to face training with follow up activities and 117 people have responded to our survey to gauge its impact. Synthesising and Summarising courses were run in every region of the English NHS during 2016 and 2017.

Knowledge for Healthcare reported that “users value literature searches and synthesised, pre-packaged information” including “briefings that present synthesised evidence”.  Hence, the strategy identified that there “needs to be a greater focus on synthesising evidence” and that the healthcare library and knowledge workforce required enhanced skills in this area. These courses were delivered in response to this training need and were designed to develop the techniques and practice necessary to be able to produce reviews and research syntheses

The courses consisted of initial one-day sessions led by one of research and information skills trainer Tim Buckley Owen or Anne Gray, Knowledge Officer at Arden & GEM Commissioning Support Unit, followed by three half-day problem-based sessions, spread over three months, at which attendees prepared syntheses and summaries of documents in advance, and shared  problems they had encountered, and their solutions.

The Course Impact Evaluation

Feedback from the impact evaluation was very positive.  Attendees reported improved confidence, enhanced skills and a better service to end users.  For some, the course informed service redesign and helped deliver a more meaningful impact on their organisations.  The majority of attendees felt they were able to put some of the skills developed into practice.

The impact evaluation provides ample evidence of success.  The full report can be read here.  Attendees described how the course supported organisational development:

This course has had a significant impact on the library services presence at a senior level. The summary provided to a senior ward manager led to change in the wording of text message appointment reminders sent out to patients to reduce ‘Did not Attends’. On the back of this success it led to further requests for summaries some of which have been presented at MDT meetings.”

and how it allowed libraries to increase their presence, and demonstrate the impact of their expertise

I have gained new skills and confidence and improved our evidence search service. This has had a particularly positive impact on our Embedded Librarian Service and the feedback from users has helped to demonstrate the positive impact of library services”.

No further courses are scheduled at present. However, watch this space.

We encourage attendees to share what you have learned, and to enhance further these skills. Please continue to feedback on how you are using these skills and how it feeds into the impact of library and knowledge services. And how will you keep synthesising and summarising skills live and fresh? One way might be to form local action learning sets in a service or services. Feed back in the comments below, or to your LKS regional lead.

Fake News, Evidence Ignored and Knowledge Dismissed

We cannot fail to notice, both professionally and personally, the discussions taking place about information, evidence and knowledge.  How information is used, misinformation shared, known evidence dismissed and knowledge withheld.

One example of fake news was described on Newsnight on August 23rd 2017*. An American travelled 500 miles with a rifle to “self-investigate” a pizza restaurant where an alleged paedophile ring operated and kept under-age children against their will. This news had been reported widely in print and on social media. The source of this news was an investigation into the emails of Hillary Clinton’s personal campaign manager. It was reported that the emails contained the words “cheese pizza” which were thought to be code for “child p-graphy”. The two words shared the same initial letters: c and p. Three shots were fired in the restaurant, there were no under-age children being held and thankfully no-one was hurt.

As we can see from the fake news story, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” (itself a misquote from the poet Alexander Pope) but knowledge can also empower us, enable us to say “no”, to achieve, to understand, to form judgements and to make decisions.

We work every day to collect and supply information, signpost evidence and ensure knowledge is mobilised and used in our organisations.  We enable evidence to be used in decision-making, we support the growth of knowledge rich organisations as well as delivering training to help staff critically appraise or discern the usefulness and validity of information. It is that learnt skill that enables wise choices and the avoidance of “fake news”, or in our terms, weak evidence.

But we also need to turn the spotlight on ourselves and ask ourselves questions too.

How do we use information, evidence and knowledge? What is the weak evidence that we use to justify our policies and practices? What are the knowledge needs, preferences and behaviours of the healthcare staff, students, patients and public who use our services? To help us understand these knowledge needs and preferences, two librarians in the South have created a bulletin for us to use.  Please read the bulletin, critically appraise what is included and collectively and individually let’s constructively challenge one another to ensure that facts matter, evidence is crucial and knowledge enables good decisions to be made.

The bulletin will be produced four times a year in September, November, January and March. It will be circulated via your library and knowledge services leads, so look out for the September edition due very soon.

Sue Robertson
Knowledge Services Development Lead (South)

* Eugene Robinson. Newsnight. 23rd August 2017 https://subsaga.com/bbc/news/newsnight/2017/08/23.html