We were asked by Health Education England (HEE) to conduct a programme of research with users of NHS library and knowledge services.
Health Education England were considering options to provide new national services to support or replace the multitude of local tools, platforms and methods used by NHS staff to find and use evidence and information.
HEE had already led work to develop some ideas about possible improvements to national library services. But they had done this work from the perspective of NHS librarians, so they rightly wanted to better understand user behaviours and needs before proceeding.
We ran a programme of user research to understand how NHS staff access and use information, and to identify needs for a prospective national information service.
We conducted 26 one-to-one interviews with NHS staff from a diverse set of roles, ran a workshop with 5 end user role representatives to generate proto-personas and user journey scenarios, analysed 454 responses to our user needs survey, and conducted 2 field visits to observe users in their own context.
A particular challenge during this research was the breadth of end user roles amongst the 1.3 million NHS workforce. To address this, we worked with the HEE team to prioritise key user roles and to ensure that each role was represented in our research. These user roles included tutors, preceptors and mentors, practicing clinicians, staff in training, non-clinical staff and clinical researchers.
We presented our work (which included 38 validated and prioritised user needs) to Health Education England stakeholders, and our findings were used to inform their case to invest in national library and knowledge platforms.