Tag Archives: Health Information

Evaluating Health Information Week 2019 (#HIW2019)

Health Information Week takes place between 1st-7th July 2019. So, what impact do you want your contribution to make?

We all know it’s important to evaluate impact, to show what benefit there is from putting time and resources into an event like #HIW2019. However, #HIW2019 hasn’t happened yet – so why are we thinking about evaluating it now? It’s really important to think about what you want your contribution to #HIW2019 to achieve now, so you can plan how you will collect the data to assess whether you have successfully achieved the impact you were planning for. Perhaps you want to encourage a behaviour change by highlighting ways to have a healthy lifestyle or encourage people to take up a particular call to action?  Identifying the impact you want your information to have early on, and how you will measure it, will make it much easier to demonstrate the value of investing the time and resources involved.

Some of the data you might want to collect:

  • Numbers: How many people attended your event(s)? How many took up free health checks (weight, blood pressure, etc.)? How many took leaflets, asked questions, or made health pledges? How many people interacted with your social media posts? Did service use change? Did any local newspapers or other media report on your event?
  • Qualitative data: What impact do patients and members of the public say #HIW2019 had for them? What did they learn? What questions did they ask? What impact do colleagues and contacts from your own and other organisations describe from #HIW2019 ? Are they willing to provide quotes?
  • Photos: Photos of your event or display can give the feel of your event in a way that words can’t (although do bear in mind the need for appropriate consent when taking photos)
  • Other information: What worked well? Which contacts have you made within your own or other organisations? What has happened as a result? What would you do differently next time?
  • The #HIW2018 evaluation also gives some examples of the types of information and data you could collect.

There’s a number of ways you can collect data and share your #HIW2019 evaluations:

However you choose to evaluate #HIW2019 , please share it with the national team at healthinfoweek@gmail.com or via the survey. We will collate all the information, so learning can be shared nationally and everybody working with information for patients and the public can benefit from your work!

Updated 4 June 2019

Health Literacy: an issue for life

To make good decisions about our health, we need to find, understand, appraise and apply health information.  This is the essence of good health literacy.

 

What is the issue?

Levels of health literacy in England are very low: 43% of working age adults cannot understand textual health information, rising to 61% when a numeracy element is added (1); and 43% adults are unable to calculate paracetamol dosage for a child based on age and weight (2).  Individual health literacy also varies.  If someone has just had a significant diagnosis, then their ability to comprehend information will be reduced.

As people live longer with multiple health conditions, they need to be able to make the treatment choices that are right for them, and to understand how to use self-management techniques or take medications.

 

What role for health library staff?

Working with patients and the public takes different forms within NHS library and knowledge services.  All depend upon library and knowledge services staff having the confidence to see how core skills in finding evidence and appraising sources apply to health information materials for patients and the public.  Supporting the health literacy awareness of colleagues, and identifying information resources of differing levels of complexity, can enable library and knowledge services to have an impact on the way that patient information materials are used.  This supports treatment choice and effective self-management of health conditions.  For this reason, health literacy is a priority for Knowledge for Healthcare work on patient and public information in 2018-2020

Library personnel in education and public library sectors are keen to collaborate on health literacy, as the information literacy and digital literacy skills that they promote feed into health literacy. Whereas good information literacy in education may be seen as a short-term benefit for coursework, health literacy is a life skill.

 

What next?

In 2018-19 we will be offering training on health literacy awareness and accredited “train the trainer” training for health library and knowledge services staff in England, which can be used as the basis of training for NHS staff and partner organisations, including public libraries.

In the meantime, resources are available to increase your awareness of health literacy issues, with tools that you can use.  Working with NHS England, Public Health England and the Community Health and Learning Foundation, Health Education England has developed a health literacy toolkit, including case studies and a “how to” guide https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/health-literacy .

If you have ideas, questions or would like to be involved in shaping health literacy activity, contact Ruth.Carlyle@hee.nhs.uk

Ruth Carlyle

References

  • Rowlands, G. et al. A mismatch between population health literacy and the complexity of health information: an observational study. British Journal of General Practice Jun;65(635):e379-86. doi: 10.3399/bjgp15X685285. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26009533
  • Mayor, S. 2012. Nearly half adults in England don’t understand health information, study indicates. British Medical Journal 345:e8364 https://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e8364

Taking a Forward View

“Knowledge specialists can play a pivotal role in mobilising knowledge and evidence effectively” so states the article Forward view: advancing health library and knowledge services in England in the March 2018 edition of the Health Information and Libraries Journal.  As part of a series of articles exploring international perspectives and initiatives, new directions for health library and knowledge services in England are considered.

Sue Lacey Bryant and colleagues explore how we will meet user expectations and examine access to digital content and services.  The ongoing need for information skills training and provision of attractive learning spaces for collaboration and knowledge sharing is acknowledged.  Steps already being taken to empower patients and the public are described including collaboration with the voluntary sector and public libraries to facilitate access to high-quality patient information.   As traditional tasks around evaluating and targeting evidence to update colleagues becomes increasingly mechanised so time is released for knowledge specialists to take on more embedded roles encouraging knowledge and learning to be shared more effectively.  Funding and quality are discussed and the shift in focus from counting to demonstrating the impact of services on organisational objectives and patient outcomes is explained.  An exploration of the work taking place to develop the workforce who will deliver the transformed library and knowledge services of the future is included.

In conclusion it is predicted that there is “a bright future in which librarians’ expertise is used to mobilise evidence, manage and share knowledge, support patients, carers and families, optimise technology and social media and provide a keystone for improved patient care and safety”.

To find out more read the full article. (CILIP HLG Members can access the journal as part of their membership entitlement)

Lacey Bryant, S. et al. 2018. Forward view: advancing health library and knowledge services in England.  Health Information and Libraries Journal, Volume 35, Issue 1, p. 70–77