Tag Archives: Health Information

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

Nov 2015: Update on progress of the Public and Patient Information Task & Finish Group

This group aims to produce a guidance document in Spring 2016, to enable health librarians to be more involved in the provision of good quality health information for patients and the public, which is part of the vision of Knowledge for Healthcare. We will be working on this guidance in the New Year and will circulate to colleagues for comment before publishing in the spring.

In the meantime, we have collated examples of best practice from around the regions of how libraries are currently engaging with the public and patients for their health information needs. As well as being part of KfHC remit, we have also had queries from many staff asking for ideas on how they can become involved in this area. Hence our title: “Ideas Bank for Health Libraries”. Although this document is available for anyone to use now, we are going to be developing the format of the Ideas Bank to make it more user-friendly and possibly interactive – watch this space!

We have also produced a growing list of useful websites and documents for health libraries. This will be updated regularly and you are welcome to suggest additions to help your colleagues.

We are currently compiling a directory of NHS library staff with an interest in public and patient information to match up with their local Public Library health contacts throughout England in order to enable more local partnership working where links haven’t already been made.

There is a monthly Health Information Newsletter produced in the West Midlands which will also be posted on the Health Information pages of the LKS website each month.  (NB. the URL for this location may change in the near future, so better to signpost people to this blog)

You are very welcome to share any of these documents with relevant colleagues and we are happy to receive feedback.

Please follow us on Twitter: @K4H_PPI

Service Transformation: patient and public information by Carol-Ann Regan

Our vision: NHS bodies, their staff, learners, patients and the public use the right knowledge and evidence, at the right time, in the right place, enabling high quality decision-making,learning, research and innovation to achieve excellent healthcare and health improvement.

Patient and public information is incorporated into the Knowledge for Healthcare (K4HC) vision. For many of us in NHS libraries this will introduce a new service user as traditionally this has not been within our remit. Indeed for some NHS libraries our line management may not see it as a priority.

With K4HC however we have been given an exciting opportunity to broaden our services and become more directly involved with patient and public health information. This could mean as little as offering reference use of our libraries right up to engaging in direct conversations with patients. (Thames Valley and Wessex have already produced NHS Library Knowledge Services Guidelines for Handling Enquiries from Patients and the Public)

Service Transformation is one of 4 work streams and incorporates a Task and Finish Group for Patient and Public Information. This group met for the first time in May and has representatives from the 4 Health Education England regions.

So what is the task and finish group doing? Initially we have given priority to:

  1. Scoping existing practice. To do this we have been asking for examples of what services exist, however small. We have also been looking through the Sally Hernando innovations and Health Libraries Group Conference presentations. From these we will produce a document detailing current practice. This may give you ideas of ways to expand your service.
  1. Exploring collaboration with interested parties. This is an area where partnership working is key. On a local level this could mean closer working with local public library colleagues. Public libraries already offer health information as one of their services. On a national level there are many key players such as NHS England, Public Health England, Patient Information Forum (PIF) to name but a few. PIF gives some interesting advice.

Since the creation of this task and finish group the national picture has changed with the expansion of interest in health literacy. Patients need quality, trustworthy and understandable health information if they are to be partners in their own wellbeing and healthcare. If health literacy is a new concept for you then I suggest you look at Scotland’s national action plan. They are way ahead north of the border.

Promoting health literacy presents opportunities for us to have closer working with clinicians as they deliver health information to patients. There are many ways to engage with your trust staff e.g using our skills to guide healthcare staff in appraising consumer health websites or contributing evidence for patient leaflets.

Regionally it would be great to have your input to help support the national agenda. Would you like to contribute to this as part of a regional group or as an expert reference? If so please contact me.

A word of caution: involvement with patient and public information could take you and your service into areas quite unusual and perhaps out of your comfort zone!  On a practical level for me I am now supporting various patient support groups in accessing health information on the internet and have been involved in editing a resource  for those  living with and beyond cancer (So what do I do now: the cancer manual)

Carol-Ann Regan
Library and Knowledge Services Manager
Library
Musgrove Park AcademyPatient
Musgrove Park Hospital
Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust