Knowledge strategy: Harnessing the power of information to improve the public’s health

Title of driver: Knowledge Strategy: Harnessing the power of information to improve the public’s health

Source: Public Health England

Link to main document:

Publication format: PDF. Other formats available on request; email

Date of publication: October 2013

Summary of driver:

The document is a response from whole public health system under PHE, to the Department of Health information strategy, The Power of Information: Putting all of us in control of the health and care information we need.
The PHE strategy outlines the strategic approach that the public health system will take around information and knowledge, in order to improve and protect public health and reduce inequalities. It is an illustration of how PHE will meet the knowledge and information requirements of public health practitioners across the public health system via a framework to support change across the public health system resulting in PHE becoming ‘an information-led knowledge-driven organisation’.

Key features of driver: Eight priorities for public health knowledge were identified by PHE which in turn led to the creation of 12 commitments which will be used to support business planning cycles over the next five years. Those eight priorities are:
Understand and meet the needs of users, particularly local government and local NHS
Assess priorities for the support, conduct and translation of public health research
Work with others to build and manage linked datasets that are safe and available for use
Bridge the current gap in translation of knowledge into action
Build and develop health intelligence networks
Extend the use of surveillance to inform health responses
Connect people to share experience
Develop a web portal to report and provide access and evidence
Each of the eight priorities has an example of the priority in practice and the metrics used to evaluate it.
This document is to be used by PHE as a tool to inform of immediate needs and to close the gaps where the way forward is less clear.

The 12 commitments
Support openness and innovation
Provide the tools to let public health professionals do their jobs
Understand and meet public health requirements for knowledge
Develop a strategy for research
Make data more useful and more accessible
Work with others efficiently
Work with knowledge and data safely and securely
Ensure everything we do has a positive impact and provides value for money
Develop cross-system networks to share intelligence and expertise
PHE to deliver the national health surveillance strategy for England
Share and learn from experience
Development of a digital strategy

Primary audience: Public health workers/local authorities/other stakeholders

Impact on library policy/practice: With the push towards evidence based practice this highlights the possibility of targeting the public health workforce with detailed current awareness bulletins if not doing so already. Some public health organisations might not have specialised library information professionals available to them-so there is an opportunity here for other NHS LKS staff to close the gap. There is the possibility of collating more general public health current awareness information for other health organisations-to alert them to changes/drivers in public health. Priority 4- Bridge the current gap in the transition of knowledge into action- is more or less what we do every day as PHE move to develop a
‘minimum standard’ of knowledge services and the skills required to deliver them.
The knowledge services required include evidence synthesis, mediated literature searching and filtering, information skills training and training in knowledge management tools. Involvement in journals clubs is listed in priority 7 (connecting people to share experience).

Date last updated: June 2014 (Consultation responses published)

Due for review:

Group member responsible: LK


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