Friday, 16 September 2016

DAY 2: Health Libraries Group (HLG) Conference 2016

Day 2 of the conference promised to be as interesting as Day 1 as it started off with a Keynote speech by CILIP President Nick Poole on championing the role of information professionals in the future of healthcare. He stressed that we are sailing into an era in which evidence is all and we need to keep adapting and cannot afford to be complacent. He highlighted that the representation of information professionals can no longer be defined by job title, something that resonated with me from past experience completing surveys. He rounded up with the view that the future of the healthcare sector depends on harnessing the skills and ethics of Library and information professionals to deliver services that are smart, sustainable and future-proof. It is important to share the good work we do to demonstrate the value of trained professionals in the healthcare sector.
This was followed by an inspirational keynote speech by Lynn Daniel on how Expert Patient Programme Courses (EPP) helps people with long term conditions self-manage. The programme tutors and volunteers consist of ex-participants with long term condition themselves who can relate to the issues participants are facing. Some of the techniques they teach include distraction from pain, positive thinking/affirmation, action planning, problem solving, healthy eating, relaxation, mind body connection and physical activity. Some of the attributes she reported participants developing include a can do attitude, confidence, coping strategies, self-belief, positive thinking, empathy with others and an understanding that others have the same issues as they do.

David Stewart presented the first parallel session I attended on Knowledge for Healthcare: workforce planning, development and beginning the transformation. He showcased some of the achievements such as key CPD resources like the PKSB for health, Learning Zone, Leadership Programme, Talent Management Toolkit and a national CPD programme in the works. He talked about the existing criteria for the redesign of library and knowledge services and ideas such as a national library management system. I found Philip Barlow's presentation on producing introductory videos for library services interesting. It was useful to get to grasp with the real challenges they present such as finding time to record, a quiet place to do the recording and arranging with those appearing on screen. Philip stressed the need for the videos to be concise, to the point and welcoming. The video he produced covered the nature of the library service and was split into four sections on how to join, that you can borrow, electronic resources and training. It lasted 6 minutes (90 seconds per section) and took 14 weeks to complete. They introduced the video using multiple languages to make it friendly. These videos get NHS users to consider using the Library before they actually need it. It isn't always easy to get a slot for the Library at inductions or part with library staff to attend these inductions so these videos are a very useful alternative. He finished with a reference to a good presentation on online training using screencasting by Jane Cooper.

After a short break, I attended a parallel session on reviewing the NHS Library Quality Assurance Framework (LQAF) by Dominic Gilroy, Clare Edwards, and Linda Ferguson. Linda started off with the history of quality assurance in NHS Libraries and highlighted what past assurance systems have achieved which include new positions, investments, refurbishments, raised profiles, evidence, innovation and service improvement. Clare then talked about issues necessitating a review now such as the constantly changing NHS environment, meeting the KFH aims, and the HEE Quality Strategy and Framework. Dominic talked about the initial work that has been done on the revised LQAF. The emphasis is on a product that is aligned to the HEE Quality Startegy, HEE Quality Framework, and Knowledge for Healthcare. A non-restrictive product which is outcomes focused. Completion time and effort required needs to be minimised and it should be applicable across the NHS in England. They have agreed on the aims of the Task and Finish Group, engaged in a literature review, gathered feedback from library services and are awaiting outputs of the evaluation framework sessions. There was a hands-on exercise requiring attendees to consider a quality assurance exercise they have taken part in and complete the sentence, LQAF would be even better if ..... Recurring themes included the need to be less time intensive, more focussed, less frequent, common understanding, more friendly, also a visual board for the financial year where feedback and evidence collected can be added for collation when LQAF is due.

We broke up for lunch which gave me the opportunity to catch up with members of my project team on the Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme. This was followed by the Bishop and LeFanu Memorial Lecture where Triathlon coach Gareth Allen presented on how exercise can have a positive effect on mental health. It linked well with the earlier speech by Lynn Daniel. He talked about the benefits of physical exercise on mental wellbeing and gave case studies with practical examples on how exercise has helped some patients with mental health issues alleviate their condition. Some implemented solutions for mental wellbeing include Fieldhead Fit, Parkrun, Running / Sports Club and Low intensity exercise for those with less mobility.

There was a Question Time panel where thought provoking questions were both asked and answered from the floor and the panel. It was all quite intense. They covered what the single most important priority for Knowledge for Healthcare is (Patient and Public agenda), linking Knowledge for Healthcare to the Higher Education sector, issues with HDAS, succession planning, role reclassification from Admin/Clerical to Scientific/Technical, affordability of accredited courses, loss of the wealth of knowledge and existing skills from NHS Direct and pro-rata CILIP membership fees for part-time staff.
The last session I attended was on practical tools to collect evidence of impact using the online toolkit by Susan Smith & Doug Knock. There was a great exercise which encouraged us to arrange our evidence in order from feedback to impact as a way of identifying what is most relevant for submission to demonstrate the value of the service being offered. It is also important to consider whom the measures are being done for. The conference closed with Sarah Hennessy thanking speakers, sponsors, attendees and giving out the prizes for competitions including exhibition posters.

A lot of the conversations I had steered me towards how much the conference content centred on NHS work and how attendees from other health sectors would probably feel left out. This is something that would need to be rectified if we are to foster partnerships for Knowledge for Healthcare. I had a great time at my first HLG Conference and learnt a lot that can be implemented in my own service. Looking back, I feel like I could have done more but I was quite wiped out by the end. There was a lot of content and not quite enough time to process them. It left me wondering if an annual one day conference supplemented by frequent workshops might be an option. It would probably make it more affordable for those willing to self-fund and might make it easier to convince organisations to sponsor. It could result in boosted attendance and perhaps more paraprofessional attendees. Food for thought.

DAY 1: Health Libraries Group (HLG) Conference 2016

Following an eventful workshop in Manchester for the Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme, I made my way to a very foggy Scarborough for the 2016 HLG Conference This was my first time at the HLG Conference and it was held at the Scarborough Spa. I was amazed by how easily I was able to identify acquaintances from Twitter and finally connect in person. There were lots of tweets from the conference at #hlg2016 and more on the event can be found on the CILIP website.

Sarah Henessey, HLG Co-Chair, started us off with a welcome address and some housekeeping rules. The keynote address was made by Patrick Mitchell & Louise Goswami from Health Education England. It was based on how much of the Knowledge for Healthcare framework has been implemented. Patrick highlighted the need to consider how we can cope with the sheer volume of available knowledge and information. He talked about the many ways in which Librarians have been contributing to the implementation of the framework and called for everyone to get on board with the programme and join the dialogue. Emphasis was placed on the need to mobilise evidence and organise knowledge into practice as well as recognising the age gap in our clientele and getting them the help they need how they want it. The Knowledge Management Toolkit, which contains case studies about what others have done in their organisations to improve patient care, was also launched.

We heard Louise talk about how partnerships are central to the success of the framework. She stressed the need for communication and engagement including how important it is to talk about the direction of travel for all our efforts. She talked about the visual identity of the Knowledge for Healthcare framework that has been developed and highlighted the newly available guidance and ideas bank produced by the Public & Patient Working Group with a focus on a role Librarians need to play in the public and patient agenda. Other areas she covered include extending our reach to commissioners, public health etc through the Service Transformation Group, working with information providers such as Public Libraries, creating best practice guidelines and developing a collaboration portal for current awareness, E-Learning (STEP) - the need to develop resources nationally to be provided locally thereby reducing duplication of effort, an evaluation framework to develop impact objectives and impact indicators, the need to review LQAF by developing guidance, standards, as well as launching a pilot.

Patrick covered the investment needed by the Resource Discovery Working Group to select the best tools available to make resource discovery as agile as possible, optimising funding, the learning zone to allow you look at where you are at in your development, the PKSB for health to give a sense of gap analysis, the Talent Management Toolkit was launched, bespoke development programmes to be developed by the Leadership Academy for Bands 8a and upwards, a joint campaign with CILIP advocating the Librarian as central to manage evidence and knowledge to support the NHS by mobilising evidence to the bedside. He also stressed engaging with Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) leaders as the only game in town. There is no plan B.

David Stewart took the opportunity to advocate for succession planning and encouraged attendees to consider the next steps in their professional careers and consider applying for the second cohort of the Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme which Patrick had mentioned would be open for entries soon. This was followed by a break which led us to the first break out session. I attended the session on Consumer Health Information by Ruth Carlyle from Macmillan Cancer Support. It focused on how the voluntary sector can help health information services provide content and support to help individuals make decisions about their health and treatment. She highlighted the available resources and stressed that it is the responsibility of the Librarian to ensure the information provided is of high quality. She also referred to the British Medical Association criteria as single tangible criteria to use in determining the usability of information found. Medium is important - conversation, hard copy, and digital referencing  however people act more on information they receive in conversation because it is personalised.

Fran Wilkie & Michael Raynor from NICE presented to how to use NICE Evidence Search to help users make better, quicker, evidence based decisions. It is useful for quick information not primary research articles. There was a hands-on workshop based on scenarios which illustrated that the NOT operator cannot be applied because a lot of content contains the phrase "do not use" and applying truncations breaks the relevancy ranking. The exporting function has been reintroduced allowing 250 results at a time. Fran referred us to the training materials and help guides on the NICE communities page for Library and Knowledge Services staff.

I attended the session led by Catherine McLaren and Jane Cooper on how to support nurses and midwives through revalidation. They make use of reflective practice sessions to support those with no recent study experience. They help attendees learn skills that can be fed back into the organisation. They learn to consider events to reflect on, how they can relate it to everyday situations, how to conduct literature searches. These sessions serve as an indirect mechanism for encouraging evidence based practice within the health service. They need to be well marketed to encourage uptake and there should be a clear statement of the aims and objectives of the course.

Gaby Caro from the World Health Organization called for contributions to the Hinari project after describing the changing environment for training in the developing world. She asked attendees to take a look at the materials on the Hinari training portal and make recommendations to support colleagues at Next up were Shane Godbolt and Cheryl Twomey with a presentation on Knowledge Management for Health. They stressed the need for co-development among professionals regardless of the continent they are based at. Shared learning will serve to improve health across the globe. Information is only effective when it can be accessed by those who need it where and when it is needed and sadly that is not the case in some developing countries. They mentioned that lack of African initiatives bring driven from within the continent is an impediment. African learning needs to be translated into African development e.g. research on the Ebola virus epidemic. There is a need to identify, strengthen and sustain knowledge management initiatives in Africa to support increased access and use of health information. Some of the challenges currently being faced include infrastructure (electricity, internet), cost of information, knowledge and delivery systems, lack of a reading culture, domination by non-local players.

On that note, the sessions ended but the day did not as attendees returned to the Scarborough Spa later that night for dinner and dancing. The Mayor of Scarborough and his wife also made an appearance and it was a pleasant evening giving way to the second day of the conference.