Health Information Week (HIW) is an annual National Health Service (NHS) campaign running from 3rd to 9th July, 2017 that aims to promote the high quality health information resources that are available to the public and to encourage partnership working across sectors.
“It is essential that quality information is provided to people to enable them to better manage their health and wellbeing and make fully informed decisions about their treatment and care. Library and Knowledge specialists are uniquely positioned to underpin this vital agenda, working in partnership with clinical staff and other information providers.”
Patrick Mitchell, Regional Director – South of England, Health Education England (HEE)
HIW acts as a focus for work that continues throughout the year and it is hoped that the campaign will benefit all staff and the public by raising awareness of the resources that are available to them. A joint aim of the campaign is that staff will benefit by initiating and building on working relationships outside their own departments and sectors.
Having a multi-sectored campaign to promote quality health information will fulfil some of the national priorities, for example:
- Patients and the public use the right knowledge and evidence, at the right time, in the right place (Knowledge for Healthcare, Health Education England).
- Encourage partnership working and improve access to quality local information (Better Information, Better Choices, Better Health, DOH).
- Local communities leading for health (Choosing Health, DOH).
- Promote healthier communities (Public Libraries Impact Measures).
- Providing evidence based services, advice and information on health and wellbeing interventions (Professional Standards for Public Health Practice for Pharmacy).
- Information, combined with the right support, is the key to better care, better outcomes and reduced costs (Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS).
- Good information and communication promote health literacy, treatment adherence, self-management, shared decision-making, confidence and realistic expectations. (Information: A report from the NHS Future Forum).
HIW supports the national priorities of Knowledge for Healthcare (KfH) which is HEE’s development framework for NHS Library and Knowledge Services in England 2015-2020. The campaign is endorsed by many organisations including HEE, NHS England and the Society of Chief Librarians and will run throughout England in 2017 for the first time.
NHS staff are asked to collaborate with the other staff groups in their local area and to be creative in their ideas, e.g. Putting up displays where they would not normally promote their resources, holding health fairs, holding competitions and raffles to encourage participation.
Some information providers may prefer to concentrate on a specific topic or issue rather than the wide subject of health information. If this is the case, it would be advisable to cover some or all of the Government’s priority public health issues:
- Reduce the number of people who smoke.
- Reduce obesity/increase exercise.
- Support sensible drinking.
- Improve sexual health.
- Improve mental health and wellbeing.
- Tackle health inequalities.
Staff are encouraged to share their promotion materials so that a wider audience is reached. Assistance is provided in the form of suggestions for promotional materials, recommended health websites, advice on holding a health fair and local contacts lists.
Impact of previous campaigns:
- Staff have made new partnerships, renewed old ones and arranged new regular collaborations for the future to support the information needs of the public.
- Library staff have demonstrated their support to other healthcare staff to access health information for their patients.
- Increase in the number of new registrations for library membership in all sectors.
- Increase in participation of reading groups for improved wellbeing.
- The power of the social media campaign to raise awareness in 2016 demonstrated the engagement across the sectors and the appetite for such a campaign.
For further information, please visit the NHS Libary and Knowledge Services website.