North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) has announced a pioneering new information service, that will put local, NHS and international information into the hands of health practitioners to improve the quality of patient care. Knowledge for Health is a new web information delivery service for the North Bristol area, powered by Fretwell- Downing Informatics' (FDI's) ZPORTAL information portal technology.
Frank Walters, Consultant Anaesthetist at North Bristol NHS Trust, comments: “clinicians have many increasing pressures, including effective use of their time and an ability to assimilate the increasing volume of information. Thus a system which allows easy access from different points – home, office, clinic, operating theatre – and which brings all relevant information together will be a major step forward for all clinicians, whose real concern is the provision of up to date, evidence-based care for their patients”.
The focus on ‘patient centred delivery of the best possible health care and services' in the NHS Plan was just one of the national drivers that led North Bristol to embark upon the project. This together with the local need to replace the library management system coincided with the development of the ‘whole systems' vision of a new approach to the management and exploitation of knowledge resources. Health Professional, Alison Robinson (RGN, RHV, MSc in Health Studies), says “If I had been able to access all sources of literature from one search, particularly from home, browsing and accessing sites for evidence-based literature for my dissertation would have been far less time-consuming. I can't wait for ‘Knowledge for Health' to be available to others. The reality of ‘three clicks and you're in' is almost here”.
Knowledge for Health is the result of partnership working between information professionals in the Trust's Patient Information Department and Library and Information Service. Caroline Plaice, Knowledge Services Manager in the Library and Information Service at North Bristol NHS Trust, explains that “Knowledge for Health will provide one place on the web that can search across information resources selected by information professionals in North Bristol to meet local requirements and support the provision of evidence-based healthcare”. Hilary Ollerenshaw, Patient Information Manager, adds that “having one-stop access to the current evidence base, including national guidelines, patient information and local practice, will lead to more effective use of information resources to provide high quality information to our patients”. Initially, the service will integrate access to the following resources: the South West Region union catalogue, knowledge resources held on the Trust's Intranet: the Trust patient leaflet database; NHS Web resources – the National Electronic Library for Health, NHS Direct Online and Dialog DataStar.
By using ZPORTAL to power the service, North Bristol NHS Trust have had access to FDI's expertise in integrating access to information and have the benefit of ZPORTAL's ability to enable access to local and national information resources without the Trust having to maintain that data locally.
Staff searching Knowledge for Health for information on a subject such as ‘hip replacement' will retrieve a single hit list of results including current NICE guidelines, Trust patient information leaflets and relevant trust policy, all with easy to use hypertext links to full text. The search would also retrieve patient information from NHS Direct Online, together with electronic journal articles from Dialog DataStar and evidence based health and healthcare resources through NELH, including the Cochrane Library.
“The implementation of ZPORTAL software at North Bristol is an expansion of the Trust's relationship with FDI,” says Robin Murray, managing director, FDI. He adds, “North Bristol NHS Trust were members of the South West workforce development confederation who chose FDI's OLIB 7 library management system earlier this year. There are many exciting projects currently developing within the NHS and we are delighted to be working with North Bristol on such a high profile and innovative service. “
North Bristol NHS Trust sees the ‘whole systems' approach to knowledge management as a development opportunity. Several Trusts in the South West region have already expressed a keen interest in this approach, which North Bristol sees as extendable beyond the immediate region. The Trust and FDI look forward to a continuing partnership, bringing together technology and library and information skills to meet the expectations and anticipate the needs of healthcare staff and patients.
About Fretwell-Downing Informatics
Fretwell-Downing Informatics (FDI) has a long history of supplying leading-edge information management solutions to over 200 organisations worldwide. FDI operates from its headquarters in the UK with a US subsidiary, Fretwell-Downing Inc., in North America plus additional offices in Australia and Europe. FDI's experience has resulted in a suite of well designed solutions including information portals, library management, resource sharing, document delivery and data publishing. The company's freedom by design philosophy is underpinned by a strong software development team and a commitment to interoperability and open standards – such as NISO Z39.50, Dublin Core. This enables FDI components to be built into a total solution or integrated alongside existing technologies.