As a Knowledge and Evidence Specialist at Public Health England, it is Anh Tran’s responsibility to find evidence to answer complex public health questions. With a topic as broad as public health “it can be really difficult to keep track of the evidence when you’re a practitioner” Anh explains, “that’s why we produce current awareness, and that is why there is such a great demand for it. Any system that enables us to do that and makes us more efficient is invaluable to us as a tool”.
Public Health England, a government run body, is a relatively new service itself. They only came into being in 2013 with the goal of protecting and improving England’s health and wellbeing. Since then, demand for current awareness has grown exponentially, with Anh expecting it to continue to do so as her team starts to further market their services within the organisation. “Managing that demand really has been the biggest challenge, and is going to be the biggest challenge.”
Anh has always worked in current awareness but, before Vable, she had never used a software service to help her manage it, always working manually. Since Public Health England started using Vable in February 2015, Anh has noticed how much more efficient and consistent she has become in her work. “I think having a system frees up the time” she reflects, “you can focus more on the added value and the system takes care of the day to day team tasks and activities, gathering information and presenting it… that sort of thing. It does make life much easier”.
Moving to Vable has meant that the team at Public Health England is now able to see what their colleagues are doing and access the same resources. This has been of huge help to Anh who finds that a coworker has often already added a source for one of their own alerts, so she no longer needs to do the same task twice. They now have a “collective collection”which they manage together to great efficiency.
Before she started using Vable, Anh managed a short current awareness bulletin where she restricted content to just 20 items of information. Back then, adding hundreds of sources simply wasn’t a possibility, it was too time consuming. With Vable, Anh is now able to produce and maintain half a dozen alerts with ease, managing a much greater volume of sources and information without the added time pressure as Vable filters through the noise for her. As Anh explains, “it helps manage the process and manage the administration”. She is now able to focus her expertise on content curation and the value added, spending the time she saves selecting the most relevant content for her end-users, whose needs she knows so well.
Vable has also supported Public Health England in taking full control of the information they manage. Anh confirms this, explaining how useful it is to be able to add all of her sources into one place and then to be in full control of how she uses them, choosing the content’s format, automatically setting when it is to be set out and managing the users all from the same platform.