Looking at the new NHS Evidence

NHS Evidence 2015 screen shot

A screen grab of the 2015 revision of NHS Evidence

There has been a significant update to the main portal for NHS staff seeking the evidence for patient care.  The vast majority of the site is freely available to anyone in the UK so it is applicable to both NHS and student / academic users.

NHS Evidence has a snazzy new (fully responsively designed) look.  The giant eye ball is no longer quite so prominent (the extent to which it looks like a liquorice allsort has increased) but the changes are much more than cosmetic.

The main search box (Evidence Search) has been revamped with the promise of speedier time to answer and enhanced results.  I think it succeeds in this.  Filters have been improved to help people narrow their search and the interaction is certainly less faffy than before.  The old topic pages have disappeared but many searches will return handy context specific materials in the right hand column.

These offer things like information on medications from the British National Formulary (BNF), Clinical Knowledge Summaries and NICE guidance arranged by patient pathway.  NICE Pathways is a brilliant distillation of some times unwieldy NICE Guidance into manageable chunks linked to the progress of a patient through their care.  This gets appreciative noises from all the people I have shown it to.

The BNF access is login free which is a boon as the old BNF site has switched to needing the login prompting grumblings from @BenGoldacre amongst others.

A small number of people may be annoyed by the loss of the MyEvidence section.  This allowed people to save searches on Evidence Search and links to documents.  It has been withdrawn pending a revised offer.  I am not sure too many people will be affected (unlike the upcoming saved search issues with HDAS)

The NHS Journals and Databases page looks a bit smarter and can be accessed from the tool bar on all the pages of the NICE website.

Generally I think this is a good enhancement.  I hope this done there will now be a bit of capacity to develop HDAS.

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Journal clubbing

The latest paper discussed in our team journal club took a bit of a kicking.

The Library Student Liaison Program at Eastern Washington University: A Model for Student Engagement

This paper covers a project where a student was paid to become a student liaison working directly for the Library.  They worked 15  to 19 hours a week during term time reporting directly to a fairly senior member of Library staff. They were set three main goals – enhance communication with the student body, articulate student perspectives / determine priorities to meet student needs and increase student participation in library programmes.

In common with the paper about the Library street teams (discussed last time) the paper tells us about what they did but falls down on the evaluation.  There are few attempts to address how the programme will be evaluated and where figures are provided they are frequently partial. For example we have no context to claims of an improvement in the affect score on Libqual+.  Changes to enquiry levels are discussed but without absolute figures.

In critical appraisal terms it falls at the first hurdle with a focussed research question lacking.  Like much LIS research we get a case study approach.  Applicability of the model proposed is quite limited locally with a very different institution involved and large sums of money required (at least $5K in pay for student at 2006 prices).  The commitment of staff time to managing the role was also substantial.

On the positive side we can see many of the initiatives that were proposed or introduced correspond to work we have in place or under consideration / development.  It also prompted lots of discussion of various paths for student engagement and ways to gain the student perspective.

So not a paper to change our practice but plenty to stimulate debate (and a nice blast from the past with them proudly reporting making 192 friends on MySpace).

Update catchup July 2014

It cannot be said that I am catching up at present. This issue was read before Christmas and has now travelled across London numerous times in my bag. Onwards…

JournalClick looks like an interesting developing tool. The prices for libraries are very low. Almost worryingly so and I wonder how the coverage compares to other tools. Nearly a million articles added since last July.

There is a puff from the RCN for their journal changes. Time will tell if they can find a sensible pricing model for these.

60 seconds is with Gary Birkenhead in the run up to HLG conference – here is hoping someone will step up for the role of HLG Chair as he vacates it. A really excellent opportunity for someone having had the pleasure of doing it myself a few years back.

The article on wikipedia is a nudge to actually making a few edits myself something I have long meant to try out. Cilip in London organised an evening event on the development of reference in the digital age. The best question came after what can only be described as a chest butting session amongst the audience about who knew the most about reference books / counted the most obscure one as the most vital / glories past and tales of written corrections sent to editors. “Who edits the thing?” My suggestion was – the kind of people who send corrections to the editors of reference books.

KCL colleagues feature next talking about how they have benefited from formal teaching qualifications. I have benefited from their experience without felkng compeled to pursue that path myself as yet. Shadowing their sessions it is clear that they are well structured to support learning.

The next article covers 7 tips for health website managers (though all are generally applicable). I have to look after a number of pages and this was useful when looking again at my content. Always more work to be done here – the challenge is to break free of the confines of the CMS.

The Hometrack website is one I know from mooching about property online (is this now one of the top UK hobbies I wonder?). The main thing I took from this is that most mortgage valuations are done by someone driving past and looking at the property – how on earth do they get away with charging so much!