Knowledge is power and information saves lives

Evidence-based healthcare is reliant on access to information, but how can we make sure the practice-changing research presented at conference makes it into clinic?

After four years at Oyster, attending the same events on an annual basis, I realise I am surrounded by the same faces each time. It’s the same across therapy areas and professions – conference is preaching to the converted.

Those who are already providing outstanding services use what they have learnt to provide ever more outstanding services, and those who can’t make it, for whatever reason, carry on as they are.


Closing the quality gap

In the Five Year Forward View, NHS England has committed to closing the “quality gap” and making sure everyone has access to the same, high-quality care. But this disparity in access only serves to widen the gap between the good and the not so good.

There are very modern roots to this challenge, workload pressures, funding pressures and time pressures, but there are also modern answers to meet it.

At #BASL2016 in Manchester last week, some delegates told me they had been forced to take annual leave to attend conference ­ – as much as I love my job, I would draw the line at going on a training course for my holiday, as I am sure you would, too.

An MS nurse, and friend of Oyster, told me of her desperate attempt to secure sponsorship to go to this week’s ECTRIMS meeting in London. “I can cover the travel and the accommodation, but I need help with the registration fees”, she told me.

Why should someone have to fight so hard to advance their knowledge, and why should the price of improved patient care come from a nurse’s pocket?


Harness technology

It all means that it’s more important than ever to make sure information gets out of the confines of the conference centre, and luckily we have the tools to do just that.

At BASL this year, the association gave its Twitter account over to Oyster so we could send the latest updates out to the association’s membership as they happened.

Everyone with a Twitter account and an interest in hepatology could find out that paediatric liver transplant now has an 80% 20-year survival rate and what histology to look for when diagnosing IgG4-related disease.

By following #BASL2016, interested HCPs from around the world were in the room. As well as Twitter-based live reporting, our team also posted write-ups of the sessions on the association’s website and sent out a daily digest of highlights to all members.


Widening the pool of the converted

It’s a simple formula, but it’s one that works: information that would lead to improved patient care makes to more people who have the wherewithal to use it.

By the very nature of my job, I only work with the “converted”, with those healthcare professionals who attend conference, who take on extra-curricular projects and who are involved in driving their services forward, often to the detriment of their own family and social lives.

And if I were taken ill or diagnosed with a long-term condition, I would want to be cared for by one of those.

By sharing the latest news and research, policy and practice, as far and wide as possible, we can help all HCPs fall into that category.


* For more information about Oyster’s conference reporting services, call 01273 601996 or email

Published on: September 14, 2016