on May 16, 2011 by Georgina Moulton in e-Lab, Comments (0)

What is an e-Lab? How can it help you?

e-Lab enable analysts to stay embedded locally and achieve economy of scale through virtual teamwork.

What is an e-Lab?

An e-Lab is a shared workspace and professional social network accessed through a secure web-browser. It links people with multiple data sources and tools, and enables sharing of expertise. Data sources that are private to particular users can be kept private and just the outputs and processes of analyses shared – so there is no need to create an overarching data warehouse. Efficiency is achieved through easy finding, sharing and reusing of pieces of work. Quality is improved through daily shared learning and collective insight.

How can it help you?

Current work scenario

The Public Health Intelligence (PHI) community is to be at the centre of the reform of the NHS as more information is to become available for a larger audience.  It is a diverse community with people coming from a range of backgrounds, and fulfilling different roles.

Currently, people are working in silos and communication between them is not efficient. Often knowledge is transferred by email lists; conversations; face-to-face or virtual meetings, shared training evens and online resources and informal networking events.

Future work scenario

The e-Lab will:

1. Provide a socio-technical solution making analysts more visible and enabling peer-support.  They will be able to:

  • Ask questions and get answers
  • Find worked examples, take them apart, learn and reuse
  • Share analysis and best practices across silos
  • Create wider source of findable expertise
  • Highly-used contributions make contributors visible and motivated

2. Connect expertise and experience by:

  • Combining all expertise into a single environment
  • Creating a federation of analysts rather than pockets of knowledge
  • Promoting shared learning and discussion through diversity

This will make it easier to identify areas of shared requirements; learn from other areas and concentrate on locally focused issues.

3. Increase savings and efficiency by:

  • Enhance the knowledge transfer through sharing analysis processes across boundaries rather than being recreated in localities
  • Auditable and findable analysis: Find how work was done using a single search instead of multiple conversations via emails and phone calls
  • Spotting training needs easily as knowledge is open and transparent
  • Re-running whole pieces of work without having to manually re-create each step, thus reducing report update times from days to hours
  • Combining workflows into one web-browser delivered toolkit using multiple pieces of software
  • Real-time updates on findings and improvements in intelligence processes

The e-Lab will work in such away that it will be integrated into your normal daily work flow and contribute to your Continued Professional Development (CPD).  An example workflow is:

1.      Expert in equity audit puts all of the ingredients of the audit into an e-Lab “work object” using a simple web-browser interface

2.      Expert choses to share the work with all e-Lab users

3.      Any e-Lab user can find this by searching for “equity audit”

4.      Users in the Expert’s immediate network who have chosen to be notified of his/her contributions are notified of the contribution at log-on

5.      Expert is notified of an error and corrects it immediately – flagging to notify all users who have accessed that “work object”

6.      Expert spends time dealing with exceptions rather than repeating mechanistic instructions over and over

7.      Expert can cite the number of uses of their work, e.g., in PDR/CPD

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