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.

CPD · News

Competencies for Health Librarians

As you know competencies and education and training for librarians, including health librarians, is a topic of growing interest and concern.  Below are some recent developments HSLG members may be interested in. Kate Kelly (Director of Library Services, RCSI) was a member of the task force to review and update the competencies and HSLG EAHIL, UHMLG and CILIP representatives were invited to provide feedback to the task force.

  1. The US Medical Library Association has updated “Competencies for Life-Long Learning and Professional Success” which defines competencies and performance indicators for health information professionals.  This is now available on MLAnet http://www.mlanet.org/p/cm/ld/fid=1217 .  From May 15 a free self-assessment tool will also be available on MLAnet. Kate Kelly (RSCI
  2. The Spring Forum of the University Health & Medical Librarians Group focused on knowledge, skills and competencies and the presentations are available at https://uhmlg.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/spring-forum-2017-tooling-up-knowledge-skills-competencies/  the Summer Forum will follow up on some of this, programme coming soon.
  3. LAI members will be aware that LAI licensed CILIP’s PKSB (Professional Knowledge and Skills Base) as a benefit to LAI members.  A PKSB for Health is also available to CILIP members.
Events · News

HSLG AGM & Networking Event

The HSLG Committee would like to invite all members of the HSLG to join us for our AGM on Wednesday, 14 June from 5 – 6pm.

This year, due to the kind offer of the ICML/EAHIL 2017 conference organisers, we are holding the AGM in the historic surroundings of Dublin Castle.

The meeting will be followed by a drinks reception at Trinity College Dining Hall, where we will join our colleagues from the conference. This is a great opporutinity to chat with fellow librarians and and share ideas and experiences.

To attend the AGM please register with Eventbrite here:


[You don’t have to attend the conference to go to the AGM or reception but it’s shaping up to be a very interesting event. See more at http://eahil2017.net/]

We looking forward to seeing you there.

Kindest regards

The HSLG Committee

Michael, Louise F, Bennery, Louise B, Marie, Shauna, Maura, and Mary


Conference · CPD · Events · News

Bursary for ICML/EAHIL conference in Dublin Castle, June 2017


We are delighted to offer a number of bursaries for HSLG members to attend continuing education courses or the full ICML/EAHIL conference, taking place 12-16 June in Dublin Castle.

You can view the draft programme at http://eahil2017.net/registration/ (if applying for a bursary don’t register on the site).

To apply, fill in the form above and return to info@hslg.ie  or Contacthslg@gmail.com by 24th February 2017.

We expect a lot of interest and there are limited number of bursaries so apply soon.


The HSLG Committee

email: contacthslg@gmail.com

Twitter: @healthlibraries