HLA/MedicalDirector Digital Health Innovation Award

The HLA/MedicalDirector Digital Health Innovation Award is funded by MedicalDirector and maintained by the ALIA Health Libraries Australia group

The Award is presented annually at a relevant HLA (ALIA) event. The recipient/s will be presented with a certificate and $3,000 to –

1. To implement the innovation or

2. To further their (or their team’s) professional development in the area of the innovation,

All arrangements are to be undertaken by the awardee/s after approval of the award and funds must be expended within 12 months of receiving advice of the award.          

Selection Criteria

The Award focuses on innovation projects in health care information delivery with practical outcomes. The submission must fall into one of the following categories:

1.  The innovation is proposed (and the funds will be used to implement the innovation)

2. The innovation has already been achieved (and the funds will be used to further develop the innovation, or for the professional development of the team);

The application should focus on the innovation and available evidence that the innovation has improved or will improve access to health information and health care (i.e. practical outcomes). Nominees must address each of the following selection criteria against which applications will be assessed:

1.      Contribution to, and enhancement of, the health library/information profession/industry

2.      Outstanding project work, whether by an individual or a team

3.      Collaboratively working within or between organisations

4.      Originality/innovation regarding services or solutions

5.      Excellence/innovation in terms of best practice

6.      Implementation and evaluation of the project (actual or intended methods and, where available, results)

Implementation and evaluation of the project (actual or intended methods and, where available, results)


The awardee/s will

1.  If the funds have been used to implement the innovation - report on the innovation outcomes via an article in HLA News (required at the latest for the June 2019 issue – May 2019 deadline)

2.  If the funds have been used for professional development- report on the     professional development activity in HLA News (required at the latest for the June  2019 issue –May 2019 deadline) and, in addition,

All applicants must supply a title and abstract for their project. An abstract of the winning application will be made available via the Award website 


To be eligible to apply for this award

  • All professional award nominees must be current personal members of ALIA. In the case of an all professional team application, one team member, with the exception of the team leader, may come under the organisation's ALIA institutional membership.
  • Non-professional nominees must work in a library with ALIA institutional membership

Current Health Libraries Australia executive members, Award Administrators and employees of MedicalDirector are ineligible to apply but may be nominators or seconders. 

How to Apply

Application form

  • Nominations are made by completing the Application Form and submitting to the Award Administrator. 
  • Endorsement of a seconder is required if self nominating.



Nominations for the Award close at the end of the first quater of each year.

Presentation of the Award

The Award will be presented at the ALIA Health Libraries Australia Professional Development day in Sydney on Thursday July 19th, 2018. Funding will be provided for the winner’s travel costs, for one night’s accommodation and for the Professional Development Day registration fee. Where the award is won by a team, funding will be provided for the team leader only. All other costs must be covered by the individual.

Decision Process

Nominees are considered by a Panel, with 2 representatives of the HLA Executive and 1 member of MedicalDirector Management.

The nominations will be emailed to the Panel, which is chaired by an ALIA HLA Executive member.

·         The Panel will vote for their top 3 choices, in order of merit.

·         The 3 choices will be weighted (3 points for first choice, 2 points for second choice, one point for the third choice).

·         The winner will be by a simple majority – if there is a tie, the casting vote lies with the HLA Executive.

·         The ALIA HLA Executive will make a recommendation to the ALIA Membership and Awards Standing Committee to confirm the selected nominee.

·         The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Previous Winners

2017: Helen Skoglund and Cecily Gilbert for Information Prescription program at Barwon Health: A digital health literacy initiative for patients in Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

This Pilot program focusses on Barwon Health's ICU patients’ information needs. Physicians are keen to increase patients’ knowledge about their illness, and involvement in decisions about their care. A natural partner, the Library aims to develop consumer information services and digital/ehealth literacy, and support evidence-based decision-making.
Modelled on US Information Prescription initiatives, the Pilot will be initiated by physician order and delivered online. A prescription for good-quality information tailored for the patient's condition, information need, learning style and reading level, will be generated and tracked using the Library’s RefTracker system. Librarians compile authoritative material to ‘fill’ the prescription.

The Pilot aims to:
1. increase consumers’ ability to participate in decisions about their own health care, through provision of personalised, appropriate health information;
2. assist and educate clinicians wishing to improve patient’s understanding of health information, by compiling resources located via expert searches in authoritative sources.

·         Ten online information prescription referrals over a 10 weeks, each requiring:

o   one-hour consultation (clinician and/or patient) to refine;
o   two hours to:

§  search relevant sources,
§  collate results with full-text links,
§  prepare a plain language summary,
§  deliver tailored results.

· Complex inquiries may require more time.

· The Librarian may contact the patient directly, or send ‘information packages’ to the clinician for review. 

Intended outcomes are to:

a)      provide quality information to the patient facing clinical decisions,
b)      test the feasibility for librarian participation in the patient's information referral process;
c)       demonstrate the value that health librarians can contribute to health literacy interventions.

RefTracker feedback forms and analytics will be used to assess:

a)      patient and clinician satisfaction;
b)      impact on patient knowledge/learning;
c)       changes in decision-making;
d)      resources and time to fulfil inquiries.

Project staff acknowledge the patient’s and clinician’s rights to privacy and confidentiality in seeking and provision of information, including the sources consulted. Details of enquiries, prescribers and health conditions will be anonymised in subsequent reports and publications.


2016: Veronica Delafosse for The evolution of health librarianship in Australia

2015:  Kate Jonson, Ingrid Tonnison and Rianna Bryant for Preserving the past, looking to the future: a digital repository for the Central Coast Local Health district

2014:  Lisa Kruesi and Connie Schardt, for Australian Evidence Based Practice Librarians’ Institute, 2011– 2014.

2013:  Narelle Hampe and Suzanne Lewis at Central Coast Local Health District who implemented an e-portfolio project

2012:  Sarah Hayman at CareSearch who developed a palliative care search filter

2011:  Daniel McDonald at Toowoomba Clinical Library Service who introduced clinically-oriented audio presentations to their busy clinicians

2010:  Terence Harrison who helped establish CEBPA (Centre for Evidence Based Practice Australasia)

2009:  Trudi Maly, inaugural winner, at the Northern Territory Department of Health and Families for her work on the Clinical Practice Guidelines Quality Improvement Program



Award category