CKN celebrates 20 years of service!

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It’s our birthday! This month Queensland Health’s very own clinical information portal, CKN, celebrates a remarkable 20 years supporting the state’s clinicians with world-class evidence for patient care. Since 2001 CKN has quietly toiled behind the scenes to become a uniquely invaluable state-wide resource. Used by Queensland Health’s doctors, nurses, allied health practitioners and paramedics tens of thousands of times each day, CKN is the envy of other public health services around the country.

To mark the occasion, we spoke with some of the key people who have helped CKN to flourish over the past two decades and asked them to offer their thoughts on how far CKN has come.

Queensland Health’s Clinical Knowledge Resources Manager, Richard Sayers, said the Clinical Knowledge Network was originally set up to ensure equity of access to the latest clinical information for all clinicians working in Queensland’s public health system, regardless of their location in the state.

“CKN was built with the help of clinicians, for clinicians, and their expertise and feedback still guide the choice of content and delivery of services.

“One of the critical guiding principles behind CKN in 2001, and still followed today, was to provide clinicians with equitable access to a world class evidence base no matter where they were located in the state. Twenty years on, Herston or Hughenden, it still doesn’t matter where the clinician is working, CKN is there 24/7 delivering vital content – in spades!

“CKN also aims to be comprehensive in relation to medicines, diagnosis and treatment, and the stories we hear from doctors and nurses, particularly those in regional and remote locations, confirm this. CKN unquestionably provides the state’s most extensive and current evidence-based collection to support high quality patient care,” Mr Sayers said. 

Sue Cornes, Executive Director of Queensland Health’s Statistical Services Branch, said that while the past twelve months had been tremendously challenging for all frontline staff, CKN had demonstrated the value of a state-wide portal, providing shared access to critical pandemic related research and treatment information.

“The past year has been CKN’s busiest year to date, with 12 million clinical information searches covering COVID-19, vaccines, drug dosing, diagnostic and treatment guidance, as well as delivering over one million journal articles to our clinicians and researchers,” Ms Cornes said.

Mr Sayers said CKN had been especially critical in supporting staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, hosting and curating a dedicated COVID-19 Information Centre for Queensland Health clinicians. 

“The information centre includes links to the latest information and very specific research on COVID-19 vaccines from Queensland, Australian and overseas sources and supports the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, with over 10,000 views since it was created in early 2020,” he said.

Fiona Jensen, A/Manager of Library & Knowledge Services at Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service was the CKN Project Officer until 2012. Now using CKN on a daily basis to deliver services to clinicians Ms Jensen said she had a deeper appreciation for the benefits that CKN brings to hospital clinicians and administrators.

“Having a centralised portal for these resources enables HHS staff to concentrate on service delivery to their staff, without having to manage contracts, content providers and subscriptions.

“And the breadth of content available in CKN means that clinicians and staff are able to have access to information they need, at their fingertips, which assists them in delivering evidence-based patient care. 

“It also means that when staff move between HHS’s, their access to this information remains the same.

For ten years CKN’s Senior Librarian and systems specialist, Rachel Wray was pivotal in helping CKN to grow into a “one stop shop” for the information needs of Queensland Health staff. Now a Team leader at the State Library of Queensland, Ms Wray said that over the past 20 years CKN has continually adapted to the library and web technology of the time. 

“Remote access did not exist for the first 7 years. And in 2001 there were no ‘search box’ discovery layers that provide the integrated searching capacity of today. 

“To see CKN continue to grow and develop with 24-hour support, regular training and CKN champions I cannot help but be proud of being involved with, what I still believe is, a ground-breaking service,” she said.

Mr Sayers said that after being with CKN for a decade it’s gratifying to be able to recognise how far CKN has evolved from modest beginnings into Queensland’s most comprehensive clinical information portal and acknowledge its many successes.

“It’s a significant achievement to celebrate 20 years of CKN, and our team feel great pride knowing that we have grown it to become one of the leading libraries of its kind, anywhere. Our model has been studied by colleagues in Australia and overseas and we know that some of our innovations have been applied in other similar portals.

“As we begin to look and plan beyond the current pandemic, all of us in the CKN team are excited for what the future might bring to the service.”