Introduction to Knowledge for healthcare: a development framework for NHS library and knowledge services in England 2015-2020* by Victoria Treadway

Source: Health Education England

Link to main document
A shorter briefing document is also available.

Publication format: PDF

Date of publication: January 2015

Summary of driver: Knowledge for healthcare lays out a framework upon which Health Education England (HEE) will build an action plan for library and knowledge services (LKS) in NHS England.

It promotes the following themes as the future of LKS: Personalised library and knowledge services, embedding library roles within teams, demonstrating impact to stakeholders, making access to LKS easy and convenient with mobile and digital access as standard, a greater focus on packaging and synthesising evidence for consumption, LKS offering value for money, and library staff seeking opportunities in the Knowledge Management (KM) agenda as ‘knowledge brokers’.

Key features of driver:

  • Knowledge for healthcare builds on the vision laid out in Health Education England’s Framework 15, which asserted that future success of the healthcare system will be determined by the ability to ‘access, understand and interpret’ information.
  • The framework identifies the key partners that LKS need to engage with, including NHS England, Public Health England and the Department of Health.
  • The positive impact of LKS is demonstrated in case studies throughout the document.
  • The framework looks forward to how LKS will develop over the next five years.
  • LKS will offer personalised services that are proactively customer-focused.
  • Embedded roles within clinical, commissioning and management teams will become standard practice.
  • LKS staff will adopt enhanced roles beyond traditional library work, for example, in knowledge management and technology enhanced learning. HEE will oversee a review of back office LKS functions.
  • Demonstrating impact on patient care, management decisions, commissioning and research continues to be a key challenge.
  • Access to LKS needs to be easy and convenient with mobile and digital services as the norm.
  • There will be a greater demand for synthesising evidence and re-packaging knowledge for end-user consumption.
  • There’s an opportunity for input into the knowledge management agenda, ‘mobilising knowledge’ to support NHS priorities and using LKS staff as ‘knowledge brokers’. HEE will undertake a national review of NHS LKS and make recommendations for the redesign of services.
  • HEE will implement a marketing strategy to raise awareness of LKS services and resources (social media will play a key part in this strategy)
  • HEE will build on to develop a single knowledge hub for all NHS staff. A centralised e-resources team will be established to support the management of national core content.
  • Local LKS leaders will be identified and nurtured and there will be potential changes in roles and new ways of working.
  • The framework recognises that investors in LKS need good value for money and proposes that LKS can be streamlined by harnessing technology and greater collaboration between services. HEE will commission a Return on Investment study in LKS in NHS England and explore an equitable, sustainable funding model.
  • LQAF will be refreshed to align with wider education and service monitoring processes.
  • The national Impact Toolkit will also be refreshed.
  • Section 7.E (p.47) identifies a series of performance metrics against which HEE will measure success against their objectives.

Primary audience: All NHS England organisations, LKS staff and decision-makers

Impact on library policy/practice:

  • This is a pivotal publication which will affect our ways of working, our roles and our strategic plans and objectives. It offers a vision of the future of LKS that we should work towards and will inform our priorities and decision-making over the next five years.
  • The framework acknowledges the successes and current good practice in LKS and provides some useful activity, staffing and funding data that may prove useful for library managers to feed into local reports.
  • It may be useful to share the framework with the key players and decision-makers within your organisation with an analysis of the local implications.
  • Section 5.5 (p.16) gives a useful overview of what implications the framework has for LKS staff.
  • LKS may have training and development requirements to enable them to embrace the new roles and ways of working proposed in the framework. Staffing skill mix may need to be examined by those who manage LKS.
  • More changes around national electronic content are to be expected, and the criteria for LQAF compliance may change in the years ahead.
  • We will need to pursue more collaborative working with other services and partner organisations, for example, purchasing resources via consortia deals and delivering services jointly between organisations, in order to demonstrate value for money.

*This post was originally published as part of the MAP Toolkit

Victoria Treadway, Library & Knowledge Service Manager, Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Twitter: @librarianpocket

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