Adaptation of Impact Questions from an Existing Toolkit Provided Clear Assessment of Valued Service Elements and Desirable Service Improvements in a Primary Health Care Library and Information Service
Keywords:health libraries, impact assessment, primary care
AbstractObjective – To provide an action plan for the Knowledge, Resource and Information Service (KRIS) based on an impact assessment of current services, satisfaction with current services, and views on desirable improvements to service and service delivery.
Design – Questionnaire for KRIS service users and interviews with KRIS staff.
Setting – Two locations served by KRIS in the north and south of Bristol City in the UK – one a health promotion service and one a National Health Service (NHS) teaching hospital.
Subjects – A convenience sample of a total of 244 users of the library services at the two locations, 121 users at the health promotion service site and 123 users at the hospital site.
Methods – A questionnaire designed for a previous NHS library service impact study was adapted for use with staff other than health workers, since teachers and youth workers, for example, also used the health promotion service. The researchers circulated the questionnaire by mail and email to prospective respondents. The questionnaire asked participants to reflect on the most recent time they had used KRIS services and provide details on the purpose of use, what elements of the service they used, satisfaction with the service or the information provided, the immediate impact on their work, and its probable contribution to future work. It also asked about desirable improvements and how KRIS contributed to the respondents’ work and continuing professional development. The researchers interviewed KRIS staff face to face and asked for their views on the history of the service and future developments.
Main Results – The overall response rate was 62.3% (152/244), with similar responses from each site. Community nurses and midwives were the largest group of respondents (n=31, 20.4%), followed by managers and administrators (n=24, 15.8%).
Both sites reported health promotion activities as the dominant reason for use. Health promotion leaflets (n=94, 61.8%) and resources for loan (n=57, 37.5%) were the top two service elements used, with literature searching third (n=46, 30.3%).
The service completely met the needs of 93% (n=141) of respondents, with 97.4% (n=148) reporting being wholly satisfied that information was delivered in time.
In terms of the immediate cognitive impact of the information obtained, 93% (n=141) reported obtaining relevant information, 76% (n=115) current information, and 72% (n=109) accurate information. Nearly 70% were distributing information or resources to other people, and 68% were sharing or discussing information provided with colleagues. Nobody claimed that they had found little or nothing of value.
Advice to patients, clients or carers was the most frequently cited impact category (n=104, 68%), followed by advice to colleagues (n=84, 55.3%).
The main strengths of the service were the perceived reliability of the service, the current awareness and alerting service run from one site, and literature searching support for commissioning and public health enquiries. Respondents reported saving time, and the main cognitive impact was the perceived relevance of the information obtained. Service weaknesses identified related to accessibility issues such as parking, opening hours, and staff coverage, and outreach was identified as the main service development opportunity.
Conclusion – The adaptation of an existing questionnaire provided a clear assessment of the effectiveness of a primary health care information service to a broad spectrum of users. Respondents identified what they valued about the service and how it could be improved.
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