Evidence informed healthcare charter

The HSE’s National Health Library and Knowledge Service is leading a national communications campaign aimed at highlighting the increasingly prominent role of librarians and library services in enabling evidence informed healthcare.  The campaign is being run in partnership with the Department of Health, National Patient Safety Office, Health Science Libraries Group, with input from Patient Focus and health librarians in Ireland.

National Health Library and Knowledge Service logo       EIH_logocropped-hslglogo-banner11.jpg

The key message for the campaign is that “Libraries and library staff enable evidence informed healthcare.” 

On 31st July, 2017 an Evidence Informed Healthcare Charter was launched.  The charter sets out the principles of evidence informed healthcare and the role of patients, providers, policy makers and librarians in enabling evidence in practice.

Who is the charter for?

The charter is for people in receipt of healthcare (patients and clients), people who provide care (healthcare professionals), people who manage health policy (civil and public sector) and people who enable evidence informed healthcare (health librarians).

Why should I sign it?

You are encouraged to sign the charter for the following reasons:
1) to help promote awareness of the importance of evidence informed healthcare in Ireland among patients, healthcare practitioners and health policy makers.
2) to raise the profile of health librarians in enabling evidence informed healthcare.

How can I sign it?

Please sign the charter using this online form.  Alternatively, please download the Word version of the charter here, sign it and return to: National Health Service Librarian, HSE, Rm. 2.58, Dr. Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin 8.

What happens next?

If you use Twitter, please tweet a link to your signed charter or simply Tweet “I signed the #evidenceinformedhealthcare charter @hselibrary”.  If you are not using Twitter, we will capture signatures and make them available on these webpages.

Who has signed the Charter?

Please search Twitter using #EvidenceInformedHealthcare to see who has already signed the Charter.  A full list of names will be made available at the end of 2017.  Please see signatures from the Department of Health and the National Health Service Librarian.

I have more questions, who can I contact?

If you need further information please contact hselibrary

Health librarians and libraries acquire, organise and make accessible best available evidence to answer the 100,000 healthcare questions that arise annually in the HSE as part of the delivery of modern standards of patient care. Whether at ward or departmental level, or in supporting National Clinical Programmes such as the National Clinical Effectiveness Committee, National Patient Safety Office or the National Cancer Control Programme, the expertise of librarians in sourcing best evidence is making a key contribution to the wider quality and safety agenda.

The Twitter hashtag for the campaign is #EvidenceInformedHealthcare.


Submit your evidence of value and impact

As part of #Evidenceinformedhealthcare, we would like librarians and information staff to collect and share incidents of their value and impact.  Our colleagues in Knowledge for Healthcare are kindly allowing us to use their evidence-based tools to capture this valuable information in the Irish context. (For more information about the KfH value and impact toolkit, see their website)   EIH_logo

Tools to download:

Guidance document:

Please send all completed forms to contacthslg@gmail.com, so we can share the value of librarians and information staff with our key stakeholders.

Note, we are particularly interested in capturing the value and impact of librarians, rather than simple user satisfaction. The following definitions may be useful.

Methods and procedures for assessing the impact of libraries ISO 16439:2014.

IMPACT – The influence of libraries and their services on individuals and/or on society. The difference or change in an individual or group resulting from the contact with library services;

VALUE – The importance that stakeholders (funding institutions, politicians, the public, users, staff) attach to libraries and which is related to the perception of actual or potential benefit. The input is converted into output by means of processes. The output can have direct, pre-defined effects (outcomes). Output and outcomes can lead to impact and finally to value.”


Why ‘evidence informed’ healthcare?

We are probably all familiar with David Sackett’s (1996) description of evidence based medicine as ‘the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients.’ The idea of using best evidence in decision making has since spread beyond medicine to nursing, allied health professionals and other health and social care practitioners.

The terms evidence-based practice and evidence-based healthcare are now used in professional codes, standards and reports throughout the health sector (Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann 2014; Social Workers Registration Board 2014…). These articulate the requirement for professionals to use current best available clinical evidence and individual clinical expertise or judgment to make decisions about the care of individual service users (HIQA 2012). This systematic and reflective approach is essential for patients to get the best outcomes from their care (Ireland DOHC 2008).


For some, an ‘evidence- based’ approach is still too restrictive as it may suggest priority is given to (primarily quantitative) research evidence above other valuable sources (McTavish 2017; Nevo and Slonim-Nevo 2011). ‘Evidence-informed’ is used often these days as it appears to provide more flexibility regarding the nature of the evidence and its use, that is, it implies that many different levels and types of evidence are needed and used to support decisions in evidence-informed practice (Woodbury and Kuhnke 2014).

When we use ‘evidence-informed’ we are explicitly acknowledging the person-centred nature of healthcare; and that those working in this sector must inform decisions using their own expertise, the unique values, preferences and circumstances of patients/clients, as well as the best scientific evidence. Though, as Woodbury and Kuhnke (2014) suggest ‘the terminology is less important than the approach’.


Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann (2014) An Bord Altranais code of professional conduct and ethics for registered nurses and registered midwives, Dublin: Bord Altranais agus Cnáimhseachais na hÉireann

HIQA (2012) National standards for safer better healthcare, Dublin: Health Information and Quality Authority

Ireland, DOHC (2008) Building a culture of patient safety — report of the commission on patient safety and quality assurance, Dublin: Department of Health and Children

McTavish J (2017) Negotiating concepts of evidence-based practice in the provision of good service for nursing and allied health professionals, Health Information & Libraries Journal, 34(1), 45-57

Nevo Isaac & Isaac Nevo and Slonim-Nevo Vered (2011) The myth of evidence-based practice: towards evidence-informed practice, Br J Soc Work (2011) 41 (6): 1176-1197. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcq149

Sackett David L, Rosenberg William MC, Muir Gray JA, Haynes R Brian, Rosenberg W Scott (1996) Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn’t, BMJ; 312

Social Workers Registration Board (2014) Standards of proficiency and practice placement criteria, Dublin: CORU

Woodbury M Gail and Kuhnke Janet L (2014) Evidence-based practice vs. evidence-informed practice: what’s the difference? Wound Care Canada, 12(10)

Evidence-Informed-Healthcare · News

Evidence Informed Healthcare

The National Health Library & Knowledge Service of the HSE is leading a national communications campaign in partnership with the HSLG.  The aim of the campaign is to highlight the role of librarians and library staff in enabling evidence informed healthcare in the context of the broader patient safety agenda.

The key message for the campaign is ‘Libraries and library staff enable evidence informed healthcare’.  The hashtag on Twitter for the campaign is #EvidenceInformedHealthcare.

evidenceinformedhealthcareA logo has been designed for the campaign and is free for all libraries to use to promote the campaign.  Please include the hashtag on any promotional material.

The campaign will run for 6 months and is in line with the key recommendations of the SHeLLI report, namely to raise the profile of the library services and promote their value more widely.

The campaign team includes representatives from the HSE, Department of Health, HSLG, National Cancer Control Programme as well as healthcare professionals across Ireland.

More information will be made available in the coming weeks.  Please get involved.  This is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of the work that you do to enable evidence informed healthcare.