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Options for staying up to date

Knowledge is like medicine - it can go out of date and become harmful (or just be less effective than something else that has come along).

To maintain your practice it is important to stay abreast of emerging developments in your field. This page offers a number of ways that you can tune in to the evidence you need to hear about and manage your information intake.

Table of Contents - Emails

Keeping up with the latest issues of the key journals for your profession can be a great way to get a feel for new developments.  You probably have a good idea of the most interesting titles in your field but ask around your colleagues to get a feel for titles you might benefit from reading.

Most ejournals will have an option to sign up for an email alert for new issues via their website and this can be a good way to sign up for a small number of titles.  The downside is this can involve multiple logins and some searching around.

An alternative is to use a single system that handles multiple journal titles via a single platform.  A good example here is JournalTOCs which is free to use.  You do need to register but this simple site allows you to sign up to receive emails from thousands of titles.  

Tailored alerts for King's College Hospital Staff

The Library at the PRUH prepares regular email bulletins for King's College Hospital Staff.  These are tailored to the needs of the Trust and include links to the full text of journal articles and reports where available.

Please complete the online form to sign up to receive an alert in your area(s) of interest. All articles listed are either freely available online or can be accessed using your KCH NHS OpenAthens account.

Available alerts:

Ten Tasters includes 10 articles from four key journals that have been published over the previous fortnight. Journal coverage includes the BMJ, Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine and British Journal of Hospital Medicine.

Nursing News includes up to 15 articles published over the previous fortnight from Nursing Times, British Journal of Nursing, Health Services Journal and Journal of Advanced Nursing.

Leadership & Management Update provides a brief overview of key papers and publications from the past month that impact on the NHS and the delivery of care. Sources include but are not limited to the Health Services Journal, BMJ, NICE, King’s Fund and Department of Health. 

Midwifery Monthly is delivered at the beginning of the month including up to 15 articles from journals including British Journal of Midwifery, Practicing Midwife and Birth.

Therapy Focus is a monthly journal alert aimed at physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and dietitians.

Information on how to unsubscribe is included on each alert. Your details will not be used for any other purpose than to manage the distribution of the alerts.

Horizon Scanning Bulletins

A series of regular topic based horizon scanning bulletins are prepared by NHS Librarians in the North West working with subject experts.  They are particularly designed to support service commissioning and redesign. 

You can sign up to receive a regular emailed issues or subscribe to the RSS feeds.

Areas covered change over time to reflect developing priorities in the NHS. 

Cardio End of Life Care
Child Health Falls Prevention
Child Mental Health Orthopaedics
Diabetes Type 2 Stroke


An alternative way to update yourself is via listening to Podcasts.  These are a bit like a radio show but available for download to listen to at your convenience.  Most smart phones will have a podcast app you can use to manage your listening.

Things to listen to?

BMJ Journal podcasts - not just the BMJ but other titles too

Inside Health - catch up on the regular radio 4 show

ChewsHealth -  Physio Matters

HEFT EMCAST - Emergency Medicine

A huge selection via iTunes


Staff at King's College Hospital have access to alerts tailored to their personal interests via KnowledgeShare.  See the full information on the KnowledgeShare Tab of these pages

RSS feeds - for journals and more

An alternative route to updates is to use RSS feeds and a feed reader.  

RSS feeds are a means by which people can publish a stream of new items from a site.  Many sites will provide these and you will see the RSS symbol where they are in use.

RSS feeds are great for keeping up with latest developments.  They are frequently available for Journals (JournalTOCs uses them to prepare the content for the alerts it sends) but they can also be found for podcasts, blogs and other websites that update regularly.

No great technical expertise is required to use RSS to stay up to date as there are websites designed to manage your viewing of them - allowing you to see what new items have come in, save and share things of interest.  

The most widely used website is Feedly.  Feedly supports all sorts of logins (Google / Microsoft / twitter etc) so you will likely be able to use one you already have.  Once signed up click "Add content" to open a directory of RSS Feeds that you can subscribe to.  If the site you want is not in the directory just look for the RSS sign on their page - right click the sign to copy a link to the feed and this can then be pasted in.

You could try the King's Fund - Health Management and Policy Alert.

Setting up subject based alerts

All NHS staff have access to the Knowledge and Library Hub as well as to specialist healthcare databases (Medline, CINAHL, Health Management (HMIC) and so on) to support their research interests, These allow you to carry out searches when you need to but can also be used for staying up to date for current awareness.  By saving your search you can not only come back to it at a later date but can also set up an alert to receive an email when new articles are added which match the search. 

If you are using the Hub you can set up an alert easily by clicking Create Alert next to the Search button.

For help setting up alerts on the specialist healthcare databases see the guidance provided on the Hub's Resources for advanced searching page.

Specialist sites

Many health professions and specialties can find useful material for updating via specialist sites, professional bodies and other resources.  Have a look for things in your discipline.  For example:

NICE publish a number of newsletters and alerts

NiHR Signals offers summaries of important new research

The OTSeeker database offers alerts for new content on Occupational Therapy

There are monthly evidence in your inbox updates from PEDro for Physiotherapists.

The RCSEng offer a highly tailored set of Current Awareness Updates for their members

The College of OT prepare regular Hot Topics

In most cases you can set up a regular email or look for an RSS feed to follow.

Social Media

While access to social media can be tricky (and sometimes inappropriate) at work it can be a useful way to stay up to date.  

X [Twitter] is a popular tool for individuals and organisations to share and discuss interesting information.

There are a number of regular Twitter chats aimed at particular groups. These frequently take place outside office hours to allow people to participate who would otherwise be too busy or have no access.  Generally they look at a topic or paper and may have preprepared questions to help the discussion along.  Examples are WeNurses and OTalk

A hashtag is a way to gather together tweets around a particular topic - look out for ones that relate to your interests such as #FOAMed for Free Open Access Meducation.

KM Bulletins

The NHS WT&E Knowledge Management Service produce a number of bulletins to keep you up to date with the latest publications and research on different themes relating to workforce, education and training, as follows:

  • Education bulletin – a monthly update on medical education with easy-to-read summaries of the latest research, policies and initiatives
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion bulletin – a weekly summary of research and news covering equality, diversity, inclusion and widening participation relevant to Workforce, Training and Education
  • eWIN – the Workforce Information Network, a collection of knowledge resources on the NHS Learning Hub, bringing together eWIN case studies, hot topics and overviews
  • In the Know – a monthly round-up of evidence related to education, workforce and the bigger health system picture)
  • Knowledge and Library Services Technology bulletin – a monthly round-up covering emerging technologies in knowledge and library services.
  • Making People Count – a monthly OD/ HR and workforce focused bulletin
  • Primary Care bulletins – a monthly update, on reshaping and future proofing primary care
  • Technology Update – a weekly update covering the three areas of the Topol review (Genomics, Artificial Intelligence and Digital Medicine)
  • Workforce Times – a weekly workforce transformation update