Part of my role on the MAP Toolkit Steering Group is to identify new drivers that emerge from the national agenda. A driver might be a report from a national body or association, a white paper, a new resource, or anything else that may affect the way that health care services are structured and delivered. Once a new driver is identified, I summarise the key points and try to identify what implications there are for library and knowledge services as a result. All drivers are published on the MAP Toolkit. The purpose of this process is to help librarians to understand how they are aligned with national healthcare objectives and to allow them to demonstrate this alignment to their home organisation.
Occasionally, a driver emerges that is wholly relevant to libraries. In January 2015, Knowledge for healthcare: a development framework for NHS library and knowledge services in England 2015-2020 was published by Health Education England. Knowledge for healthcare lays out a framework upon which Health Education England (HEE) will build an action plan for library and knowledge services in NHS England. It highlights the following themes as the future of library and knowledge services: personalised services, embedding library roles within teams, demonstrating impact to stakeholders, making access easy and convenient with mobile and digital access as standard, a greater focus on packaging and synthesising evidence for consumption, value for money, and library staff seeking opportunities in the Knowledge Management (KM) agenda as ‘knowledge brokers’. I duly set about summarising the main points and published my summary on the MAP Toolkit.
As part of my day job as the Library & Knowledge Service Lead at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, I printed a copy of the new framework for my line manager . At our subsequent one-to-one she wanted to know more about it, specifically what the implications were for the wider organisation. I realised with horror that while I had a good understanding of the implications of the new framework for libraries, I had failed to translate any potential repercussions for my Trust. I had also neglected to interpret any library jargon that could be a potential barrier to managers reading the report. Back at my desk, I wrote a few key points that I felt would help to interpret the framework and make it more meaningful to senior managers in my organisation. I have shared these below in case they are helpful to anyone else faced with the same question!
Knowledge for healthcare may have the following local implications:
- LKS staff will begin to undertake less traditional library activities, e.g. supporting the knowledge management agenda, acting as ‘roving’ librarians working outside the library, re-packaging and synthesising information as a ‘product’. Training and support may be required to enable the team to develop accordingly.
- There will be an increase in the use of technology to deliver library services. This may include utilising social media to market and promote library services, and the use of e-technologies and media to enable remote access to services.
- A review will be undertaken by Health Education England which may result in recommendations for delivering back office functions.
- We expect to see more collaborative working with partner organisations, including more resource purchasing via consortia deals which should be more cost-effective.
- WUTH staff and students will require support as access to national e-resources changes; the library service will be pivotal in providing support during this transition.
- The national Library Quality Assurance Framework (LQAF), against which the library service is assessed, will be reviewed and we should expect changes. This may affect some of our internal processes as we strive to meet the LQAF criteria.
The exercise was a useful lesson that while the MAP Toolkit helps me to understand healthcare drivers in the context of libraries, sometimes I might be required to interpret library drivers on behalf of non-librarians. It also reminded me of the importance of using the same language and terminology as those outside libraries in order to communicate effectively.
The MAP Toolkit Steering group horizon scan for new drivers and summarise them using the process I’ve described above. If you’re interested in joining us or finding out more, please contact MAP Toolkit Lead Tracey Pratchett at email@example.com.
Library & Knowledge Service Lead
Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust