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CILIP response to the Topol Review of Technology in the Healthcare Sector


CILIP response to the Topol Review of Technology in the Healthcare Sector

CILIP, the UK professional association for librarians and information professionals, has welcomed the publication of The Topol Review report Preparing the healthcare workforce to deliver the digital future.

Speaking at the launch of the Report, CILIP Chief Executive Nick Poole commented, “CILIP welcomes the outcomes and recommendations of the Topol Review as a landmark in understanding how technology, knowledge, information and data are transforming patient-centred care, the doctor-patient relationship and the experience of healthcare.

We are excited about the Review’s vision of a future-ready healthcare workforce, empowered by digital medicine, genomics, AI, robotics and data. We look forward to working with our partners at Health Education England to ensure that librarians and knowledge specialists in health are positioned to play their role in this transformative programme.”

CILIP’s response highlights the following key messages:

  • We welcome the ‘human-centred’ approach set out in the report, focused on outcomes for patients including dignity and equality of access. It is essential that the progressive agenda for the future of healthcare does not create new forms of inequality or exclusion;
  • CILIP believes that the report presents a real opportunity to transform the skills base of the healthcare workforce, while also recognising the importance of information and knowledge specialist staff in providing quality information from the Boardroom to the bedside;
  • We believe that the future envisioned by the report also depends on encouraging the development of a digitally and information-literate population as part of the ecosystem of information resilience, including new forms of health literacy;
  • We welcome and endorse the powerful insight that AI will enhance and augment information and knowledge skills in healthcare, rather than replacing them;
  • We welcome the recognition of the need to build information capability at the most senior levels in healthcare, including the proposal to ensure that every Healthcare Trust Board has a Chief Clinical Information Officer;
  • We further welcome the recognition of the need to promote cultures of knowledge sharing and the improvement of Knowledge Management practice to ensure that the NHS ‘knows what it knows’

In response to the publication of the Topol Review, CILIP will engage with Health Education England to progress three linked programmes, with the common aim of ensuring the supply of talent and skills needed to develop the healthcare workforce of the future. These are:

  1. To work with the CILIP Health Libraries Group and Health Education England to review CILIP’s Workforce Strategy 2019-2024 to ensure that it reflects the priorities defined in the Topol Review;
  2. To liaise with the CILIP Health Libraries Group and Health Education England to explore new approaches to supporting specialist skills development for information professionals in health;
  3. To progress a CILIP-led review of the impact of AI, machine learning and robotics on the library and information workforce, drawing on the insights of the Topol Review

Notes for Editors

CILIP is the UK’s library and information professional association, representing a UK workforce of approximately 87,000 people in more than 20 industry sectors. Our mission is to put library and information skills and professional values at the heart of an equal, democratic and prosperous society.

The CILIP Health Libraries Group (HLG) is the Special Interest Group which represents and supports librarians and knowledge specialists in the Health sector. HLG’s goal is to “empower everyone working in health library, knowledge and information services to achieve excellence in their role”.

Since 2016, CILIP and HLG have partnered with Health Education England on the successful #AMillionDecisions campaign, highlighting the role of librarians and knowledge specialists in supporting more than 1m life-changing evidence-based decisions every 17 hours across the NHS.

For further information about CILIP and our work, visit



Press release 

Published:  13 February 2019


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