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Co-creating value using Library e-resources: measuring impact by sharing your stories

26 Jul 2019

Susan Isaac and Corinne Hogan

Reducing unplanned admissions after day surgery

Impact 1: Sheffield Hand CentreWe defined our unplanned admission rate after day case hand and wrist surgery and found it to be 1.5%. We used the college on line library resources to identify and source publications about this topic and compared our results with those reported in the literature. Our main reason for unplanned admission was pain with other general anaesthesia related problems next most common.

We instituted simple measures in our unit to reduce these problems. A patient information leaflet to optimise post operative analgesia self administration, ibuprofen advocated for short term use, refinement of regional block techniques.

These changes reduced the unplanned admission rate in 2018, benefiting patients and reducing bed occupancy.

Open quotationRCSEng on line library resources supported a successful project to reduce unplanned admissions after hand and wrist day surgeryClose quotation

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


Open quotationImpact assessment may require assessing how value is co-created with library users in use of e-resources and open data…Close quotation

Urquhart, 2018

Libraries are always interested in finding out if they are meeting their users’ needs and what the impact of supplying the service is. Yet, despite a wealth of helpful advice from sources within the profession, measuring a library’s impact on the user remains challenging.

There are several definitions of value and impact in this context. In 1995, Urquhart and Hepworth defined value as “the benefit the user obtains from the use of information and the effect of that use”. An assessment of impact therefore determines what real difference a library is making to its users, usually in terms of effects on their work.

Impact 2: survey

In 2018, we carried out a membership survey to ask you what impact using library e-resources has on your work and CPD. We asked four key questions to gain both qualitative and quantitative data on impact and satisfaction:

  1. In the past year, which library e-resources have you used?
  2. In the last year, has using information provided via library e-resources had an impact on your work? If so, which areas have benefited?
  3. Can you briefly describe an occasion when information supplied via library e-resources made an impact (e.g. decision relating to patient care, teaching, change of practice)? How did the information make the difference?
  4. Overall, how would you rate your satisfaction with using library e-resources during the past year?

Having asked these questions and received your responses, we set about using the data created as effectively as possible, making the most of the feedback for: 1, staff providing the services, and 2, members using it. The response to question 3 was particularly interesting because many of your replies linked your use of e-resources to specific positive outcomes, ranging from exam preparation through patient care to designing protocols. The survey results have been written-up and posted on the Library blog and all respondents were sent a short summary report. But we wanted to go further with this survey than with previous similar exercises and look at different and evocative ways of sharing the results of your feedback.

Inspired by the Public Health England approach of using impact stories to demonstrate the effectiveness of their research and policy, and by the CILIP Health Libraries group campaign with Health Education England’s Library and Knowledge Services (HEELKS), A Million Decisions, for decisions in the healthcare sector to be fully evidence-based, we hit upon the idea of taking this forward by sharing what you’d told us about using the library e-resources.

Impact stories are short, personal accounts of how using a library service or resource has changed something for that person, and are all about briefly explaining the context of that individual experience. It could be a change in activity that saved time or money, led to a shift in local policy, or even saved a patient’s life.

Impact 3: handsTo convey your responses in a meaningful way, we have drafted a short template to transfer the original comment into an impact story that can constructively influence and inspire reflection, bringing your experiences to life. The ‘stories’ can be about how using our e-resources helped support you in running services, designing projects, following policies, pursuing research and preparing publications. They have the dual benefit of promoting the real value and impact of our services, and inspiring members to use the Library in innovative ways to support their working lives.

We then can assess ‘what, why and how’ services were used and, importantly, gauge the progressive impact of what happened next.

Our first impact story is a good example of how this works in practice showing library resources being used to contribute to finding successful solutions and a positive outcome.

Sharing ideas on what’s worked for you can help others with similar challenges. If this strikes a chord with you please get in touch and add your experience to the ones already collected: we aim to make them available on our webpages as a growing resource. If you are interested in sharing your story, please contact us for more information.

Susan Isaac, Information Services Manager

Corinne Hogan, Senior Information Assistant

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