Knowledge4Health information service

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 1 August 2004



(2004), "Knowledge4Health information service", The Electronic Library, Vol. 22 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Knowledge4Health information service

Improved access to clinical information and research, to support clinicians in delivering patient care, came one step closer at North Bristol NHS Trust, with the launch of “Knowledge4Health”, a new information service and library system. Over 2,000 clinicians and staff at the trust have signed up to use the new, Trust-wide library services, and the integrated knowledge management system, supplied by Fretwell-Downing Informatics.

Dr Muir Gray, Director of the National Electronic Library for Health Project, was the guest speaker at the official launch held in Bristol on 6 April 2004. In his speech, Dr Gray, a long-time advocate of evidence-based decision-making, acknowledged the importance of knowledge in the fight against disease. He commented:

  • Knowledge is the enemy of disease. The application of what we know will have a greater impact than any new drug or technology likely to be developed in the next decade.

Knowledge4Health provides integrated access to the following resources: the South West Region union catalogue, knowledge resources held on the trust’s intranet; the trust patient leaflet database; NHS Web resources, the National Electronic Library for Health (NELH), NHS Direct Online and Dialog DataStar. The service will continue to develop and introduce new resources to meet the developing needs of the clinical community. Further clinical evidence resources are already planned for inclusion in 2004.

Staff searching Knowledge4Health for information on subjects such as “Carpal tunnel syndrome”, will retrieve a single hit list of results that match their search. Relevant information is retrieved from NHS Direct Online, together with electronic journal articles from Dialog DataStar and evidence-based health and healthcare resources through NELH, including the Cochrane Library. The search would also retrieve patient information leaflets and relevant trust policy, all with easy to use hypertext links to full text.

With Knowledge4health now live, clinicians across the North Bristol area are able to assimilate quickly, and more effectively, the increasing volume of information, when and where they need it – at home, office, clinic and in the operating theatre.

Knowledge4health has come into being at a time of extensive development in NHS information strategy. Libraries and librarians have a central role in achieving the vision of the NHS National Programme for Information Technology (NPfIT). Martin Bell, Director of Information Management and Technology with North Bristol NHS Trust, commented:

  • It is vital that we develop services that can support clinicians in gaining improved access to best practice information, clinical information research material. The new service enables health care staff and patients to access validated, relevant information in a timely way, supported by an extensive and responsive training and facilitation programme. This is good news for clinicians, and good news for patients. It all forms part of the modernisation and development of the NHS.

Knowledge4health provides an exciting new opportunity for all clinicians to further inform best practice. Within the trust it is recognised that Knowledge4health will also provide a useful professional development tool for newly qualified staff and clinicians who are returning to work, helping them to get up to speed quickly with developing NHS initiatives such as “Agenda for change”.

Contact Knowledge4health at:

Related articles