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NHS Nightingale

Information access for healthcare professionals during lockdown 

Supporting the national effort 

When the government announced the plan for NHS Nightingale hospitals, we offered our support. 

Ensuring a seamless, ‘business as usual’ transition was essential for NHS staff in this crisis scenario. 

Health Education England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recognised that NHS staff who were being reassigned from other trusts. Therefore, NHS Nightingale hospitals needed immediate access to vital information.  

Consequently, it also meant non-NHS staff seconded from commercial organizations required access. 

Challenges 

Our team rose to the challenge to help the NHS by enabling remote access to medical information.  

Firstly, remote library leaders needed an access management tool to use in the Nightingale hospitals. One they could rely on and go to for academic and medical information. 

Our key client services manager, Phil Leahy, said: “Our team came up with a way to quickly enable librarians and administrators to work from different locations without going through stringent approvals. 

“These major service changes were designed, tested and implemented within a week. We received very positive feedback from customers and long-standing administrators who know exactly how our secure services work. They thanked us for relaxing the restrictions because it really helped organizations to carry on with business as usual.” 

Solutions – removing barriers to access 

We enhanced access for our NHS healthcare workers. Then we also improved our administrator dashboard to help librarians working remotely. 

Mark Salmon, Deputy Director Evidence Resources, NICE said: 

“Many thanks to the OpenAthens team for their rapid and proactive approach to problem solving during this unprecedented time.  

“Because of this NHS Staff had continued access to essential medical, health and social care information resources in their fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.  

“It also provided uninterrupted access to services for administrators. They were able to utilize the new secure multi-location verification technology for home working.” 

Once it became clear that widespread remote working was in place, we established IP restrictions and user verification. This meant access to our management tools was possible for thousands of key workers. 

Benefits and results – remote access to pharmaceutical information 

A new, flexible mechanism was introduced to ensure a seamless transition to multi-location working for thousands of knowledge managers.  

It allowed administrators of our services to continue to log in with additional flexibility while retaining the same security levels. 

MedicinesComplete, built and managed by The Royal Pharmaceutical Society, allows pharmacists to have access to essential medicines information.  

Access was recently widened to include clinical pharmacists working for Primary Care Networks in England.  

Using the tools that NHS librarians already had access to, MedicinesComplete was added to the entitlements for eligible pharmacists. This helped NHS organisations adhere to their licence conditions. 

Bonnie Nelson, Information Specialist at the Research Triangle Institute said: 

“I want to thank the whole OpenAthens group for making me look really good during the COVID-19 crisis.  

“It has meant access to our e-resources has been nearly flawless and I am thrilled beyond belief that we switched to OpenAthens.”