Making a positive impact on the cost and quality of care

Health librarians and knowledge managers working closely with staff and organisations within the NHS and wider health sector bring tangible benefits, including savings in time, costs and better operational efficiency. Here are examples from different NHS Trusts. Further impact case studies can be explored via Knowledge for Healthcare.

£500,000 saved: clinical librarian crucial to success of Nursing Supplies Group

"The Nursing Supplies Group works alongside the Trust's procurement team to ensure that nursing products bought to deliver patient care are of the highest quality and that a standardised approach is implemented across the trust where possible. The Group considers the research around the clinical efficacy and safety of clinical items available for use and makes recommendations based on clinical and cost effectiveness.

The attendance of clinicians and a clinical librarian at these meetings has been crucial to its success in delivering cost efficient savings to the Trust whilst maintaining quality. Over the years the group as saved the Trust over £500,000 - it wouldn't have happened without the Library."

Jim Collins, Head of Procurement & Supplies
and Abby Tierney, Senior Buyer
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust

Working with:

Tracey L Roberts Cuffin
Head of Library & Knowledge Services
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust

Reduction in cost of treating long-term conditions within acute & primary healthcare

"As a service we have a lot of expertise in the sphere of psychological interventions into Long Term Conditions and the evidence from our library service is used to steer and guide our approaches to it. Information provided via our library and knowledge service is also invaluable in developing our business cases and securing commissioner commitment.

We needed to present in-depth evidence around options that will reduce costs in both the acute sector and primary care, and to evaluate a range of innovative service models in psychological therapy for long-term conditions. Having access to a dedicated library and knowledge service negated the need for us to spend time on this and ensures we can confidently and competently ensure that those with a long term condition can benefit from a psychological intervention.

We are now providing a range of psychological therapy interventions into services that we run in Brighton and Hove, including Diabetes and Respiratory clinics and we are on the edge of a massive roll out of interventions into long term conditions services across Sussex."

Damien Brennan,
Head of Public Health and Wellbeing Services,
Sussex Community NHS FoundationTrust

Working with:

Ben Skinner
Head of Library and Knowledge Services
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust

Rapid response to clinical supply problem

"I needed to quickly determine the relative efficacy of two different agents used for decolonisation of patients with MRSA carriage in the nose (anterior nares). This information requirement arose as a result of an unexpected supply problem with the agent routinely used across the Trust.

The qualified librarian reviewed evidence summaries, located journal articles and explored policies from other NHS Trusts. The evidence provided intelligence on the use of a routinely-used drug following an unexpected supply problem.  Use of the library resource saved time, and allowed me to progress a rapid, appropriate response. This information underlined the importance of restoring stock as soon as possible, and provided intelligence to the Infection Prevention & Control team to expect more treatment failures with the replacement agent.”

Dr J Cunniffe, 
Consultant Microbiologist

Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

Working with:

Victoria Treadway
Library & Knowledge Service Lead
Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Library & Knowledge Service

Reduced length of stay and improved care for in critically ill patients 

"On testing we found that a large number of our critically ill patients were vitamin d deficient. Our library and knowledge services brought evidence showing that vitamin d deficiency is associated with worse outcome for critically ill patients including increased length of stay and mortality; but treating vitamin d deficiency in critical care should help with rehabilitation and can potentially reduce hospital days for this population.

As a result of this evidence, a new protocol was introduced into critical care (based on NICE guidance but slightly adapted for the critical care population).  There is now routine testing and supplementation within critical care. The cost of testing and supplementation is relatively low but the potential impact in terms of speed of recovery and reduced length of stay could be significant.”

Vanessa Linnett
Consultant anaesthetist
Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust

Working with:

Joanne Naughton
Library and Knowledge Service Manager
Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust

Saving of £48,500 to the Trust and improved diabetes care for prisoners nationally

"My team provides outpatient care to diabetic patients within prisons. In the past, patients have required to attend appointments within the hospital, necessitating a suitable vehicle and two prison guards and to securely transport patients to and from the hospital and accompany them in the Outpatient’s Waiting Room.  

Patients found the experience problematic and we had a very high number of Did Not Attends (DNAs).  Evidence provided by our library and information service led us to introduce a change in practice where instead a nurse now visits the prison to provide outpatient care.  

The outcome has been a cost saving of around £48,500 through a reduced number of DNAs and the removal of the need for transport or supervisory prison guards.  It has also improved patient care. I presented the evidence sourced by the library at the Primary Care & Public Health Conference in 2014, and it led to a national rollout of the model."

Lesley Mills
Consultant Nurse in Diabetes,
Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Working with:

Miss Alex Williams
Knowledge & Evidence Service Manager
Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Improved care for patients admitted with stroke symptoms

"Information sourced by my library service regarding the latest in stroke care was used in setting up a project in Stroke Pathway Improvement. We saw from the data that we were behind the other southern hospitals for both time to CT scan and time to ward for stroke patients.

The information enabled us to research best practice and learn how others had made improvements in these areas. We were able to see great opportunities that did ‘inform’ some of our improvements – ensuring more patients were scanned within one hour of presenting at hospital with stroke symptoms."

Nick Chambers
Patient First Kaizen Practitioner
Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust

Working with:

Mike Roddham
Head of Service,Western Sussex Knowledge and Libraries

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Back to the campaign