Latest published editorial in Family Practice, including my work on primary care data

Below is a link to the latest published editorial in Family Practice, including parts of my work on primary care diversity data and its challenges. Many thanks to Carolyn Tarrant and Emma Angell.

http://fampra.oxfordjournals.org/content/30/6/613.full?keytype=ref&ijkey=u1f0fDXj3eQLLnD

Public Health – the ‘wide net’ approach

Last week I started some additional work outside of the University,with Nottingham City Public Health. In healthcare it is easy to turn immediate focus to those at the extremes, expending maximum resource to bring them into the band of majority. For instance, the drive to tackle obesity often prioritises those who are medically overweight (morbidly obese) as this category is seen as high risk. Public health allows the scope to attempt to influence and change the behaviour of the majority for the better, less concerned with exclusively medical interventions but, instead,  turning attention to changes in lifestyle and other health risk contributors (in the case of obesity). The results may not be as drastic as those seen in at the extremes, but the impact is widespread amongst a given population.

My first project will look at the needs of those most at risk from sight loss within the city’s population. This work will form part of an overview of Sensory Impairments in Nottingham, in light of the Public Health Outcomes Framework. Better get reading!

Video-Podcast Creation – CLAHRC

Following the CLAHRC Video Competition back in February of this year, I joined the new Video-Podcast team for the CLAHRC LNR’s Implementation Theme. We are currently in the process of producing a short video which will provide a concise summary of the group’s activities. Publicising and marketing any form of work to your target audience in a way that is accessible, be it an idea, a research  project or the results of a health evaluation,  is important in ensuring that people find out about your organisation and are provided with the opportunity to learn more about it if they so wish. As we started to create the video storyboards drafts, I began to realise the volume of high quality and potentially impactful research and collaborative work that takes place between the CLAHRC LNR and healthcare bodies, work that many outside of the projects themselves would simply be unaware of (particularly the general public, who experience the results of health research every day, knowingly or otherwise). After creating the video, I think it would be great to obtain feedback from others outside CLAHRC to see whether it was successful disseminating the group’s main aims in a clear & simple manner.

And we’re off! – Green Impact

The Green Impact project mentioned a short whileback was officially launched this week at the Departmental meeting and the presentation was well received by the staff attending. It is part of the national Green Impact scheme in association with the National Union of Students. The aims are as follows:

  1. Reducing waste and increasing recycling
  2. Increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions
  3. Increasing sustainable procurement
  4. Increasing sustainable transport
  5. Improving communications relating to sustainability 

The scheme’s  ‘bronze, silver and gold’ award approach allows for creative and innovative solutions to be discussed and implemented in the work place, rewarding the most successful and orignal ideas.  It has provided the Team with a framework which will be helpful when trying to act upon the various ‘green’ areas mentioned above.

In order to keep ‘green’ changes in the workplace relevant to staff behaviour it is important to provide a platform for individuals to voice their thoughts and ideas on how they feel working practices can be made more sustainable.  This is because staff ideas and experiences are the drivers for sustaining ‘green’ initiatives within the workplace in the long term. At the moment the ‘Green Team’ is focusing on collating feedback and judging by the initial responses, I’m quite optimistic that we will be able to implement some key changes in the very near future!    

Turning the Department Green

Talk around sustainability commonly surfaces here in the UK everytime energy providers increase their prices. It tends to spark the  ‘gas,nuclear or renewable energy’ debate and talk of CO2 emissions targets. Although that discussion is at a national level,  issues around sustainability very much affects all of us on an individual level. For example, A typical 8-hour working day can involve an employee travelling into work from home, working in the office and then travelling back home again at the end of the day. Our actions and how we interact with the environment around us do have an impact at every stage of the working day cycle. Thinking about using less and wasting less is always a good place to start. There’s evidence of a few ‘green’ schemes already in place so it would be good to build on those, see how effective they’ve been and include a few more.  I’m hopefully going to try and get involved in setting up a Green Impact branch in my department to see what we can all do to ensure our actions are as sustainable as possible.

‘Got a minute?’ – Interviewing

I have now visited two primary care organisations for interviews with health professionals and practice staff at each site. I would say that the interviewing experience and the data collected have both been interesting in their own way.  The interviews have shed light on the practices’ procedures when it comes to recording non-clinical patient information on each patient record and I look forward to analysing the responses.  One thing I have noticed is just how immensely busy some health professionals are! Although the meeting times had been scheduled in advance, it was common for the responses to be short and closed (with frequent clock-glancing by the interviewee!). Although I tried to prioritise the key question areas, I can see that some follow-up meetings with a couple of health professionals will be needed to fill in the gaps. Hopefully I can pick up where I left off.

Conducting Interviews for Health Research

Over the next month or so, I’m scheduled to interview members of a handful of general practice teams from GPs to practice managers and other practiced employed staff. The interviews will give me an insight as to what the practices are currently doing to discover and subsequently map the diversity in their own patient population.

I decided to arrange a meeting with Clare Jackson, a member of the SAPPHIRE team possessing years of experience in interviewing.   She was very helpful and able to give me tips as to how to get the most out of every interview (and how to save it when/if things start going pear-shaped!)

Clare has conducted challenging interviews as part her ongoing Oracle study, talking to children in hospital with cancer, and sometimes their parents too. Being fully aware of the interviewee’s background and circumstances was one of the central points I noted. Knowing this will help in selecting which interviewing techniques to deploy during the interview and will hopefully result in interesting responses for analysis later.

Important tip when conducting research with healthcare professionals:

Be aware of time –  Many health professionals are limited to the amount of time they can spend away from dealing directly with patients and patient records. It is important to remain concious of time to contain topic digressions and to steer them back to the interview’s original focus.