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    ABSTRACT: The English National Health Service Constitution states that patients have the right to expect all decisions about access to medicines and treatments to be made 'rationally'. Rationality in health care can be framed as instrumental, institutional or practical. In this article, we present a case example from an ethnographic study of the work of 'Individual Funding Request' panels to explore how rationality is enacted and accounted for in deliberations about the rationing of health care in the National Health Service. Our rhetorical analysis highlights how an embodied, practical rationality emerges as a significant aspect of rationality in practice, but at the same time has a problematic status in formal accounts of decision-making. We suggest that being both 'human' and 'rational' is a 'delicate balance' and creates a dilemma for Individual Funding Request panels. Aristotle's notion of phronesis provides a useful lens for theorising our observation of panel deliberations, and we argue for greater attention to the value of narrative ethics in helping us understand the challenges faced by resource allocators.
    Health 11/2013; 18(5). DOI:10.1177/1363459313507586
  • BMJ (online) 11/2013; 347:f6681. DOI:10.1136/bmj.f6681
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    ABSTRACT: To devise and test a self-management course for chronic pain patients based on evidence and underpinned by theory using the Medical Research Council (MRC) framework for developing complex interventions. We used a mixed method approach. We conducted a systematic review of the effectiveness of components and characteristics of pain management courses. We then interviewed chronic pain patients who had attended pain and self-management courses. Behavioural change theories were mapped onto our findings and used to design the intervention. We then conducted a feasibility study to test the intervention. Primary care in the inner city of London, UK. Adults (18 years or older) with chronic musculoskeletal pain. Related disability, quality of life, coping, depression, anxiety, social integration and healthcare resource use. The systematic reviews indicated that group-based courses with joint lay and healthcare professional leadership and that included a psychological component of short duration (<8 weeks) showed considerable promise. The qualitative research indicated that participants liked relaxation, valued social interaction and course location, and that timing and good tutoring were important determinants of attendance. We used behavioural change theories (social learning theory and cognitive behaviour approaches (CBA)) to inform course content. The course addressed: understanding and accepting pain, mood and pain, unhelpful thoughts and behaviour, problem solving, goal setting, action planning, movement, relaxation and social integration/reactivation. Attendance was 85%; we modified the recruitment of patients, the course and the training of facilitators as a result of testing. The MRC guidelines were helpful in developing this intervention. It was possible to train both lay and non-psychologists to facilitate the courses and deliver CBA. The course was feasible and well received.
    BMJ Open 11/2013; 3(11):e003534. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003534
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to test the extent that constructs from two theoretical models (self-regulatory theory and social cognitive theory) mediated change in outcomes following a self-management intervention. One hundred and twenty four individuals with type 2 diabetes who had participated in a randomised controlled trial of a diabetes self-management programme were analysed for the extent that illness beliefs and self-efficacy mediated change in self-management behaviours and illness specific quality of life. Exercise specific self-efficacy significantly mediated change in exercise at three months (B = .03; .01, p < .05) while monitoring specific self-efficacy mediated change in monitoring behaviour at both three (B = .04; .01, p < .01) and nine months follow-up (B = 5.97; 1.01, p < .01). Belief in control over diabetes mediated change in illness specific quality of life at three months (B = -.07; .28, p < .05) and nine months (B = .79; .28, p < .01) follow-ups, as well as change in exercise behaviour at immediately post-intervention (B = -.12; .17, p < .05). Behaviour-specific self-efficacy may have a stronger role in mediating self-management behaviours than illness beliefs; however, belief in control over diabetes may be important to manipulate for change in quality of life. This suggests different theoretical constructs may mediate change dependent on outcome.
    Psychology Health and Medicine 10/2013; 19(5). DOI:10.1080/13548506.2013.845301
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    ABSTRACT: David McCoy and colleagues critique the dominance of “lives saved” models of assessing the impact of health programs, using The Global Fund as a case study. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
    PLoS Medicine 10/2013; 10(10):e1001522. DOI:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001522
  • Diabetic Medicine 10/2013; 30(10):1156-9. DOI:10.1111/dme.12300
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    ABSTRACT: Little sociological attention has been given to the role of think tanks in health policy and planning. Existing work in political science and public administration tends to define and categorise think tanks and situate them as a disinterested source of policy expertise. Despite the increasingly visible presence of think tanks in the world of health care, such work has done little to reveal how they operate, by whom and to what ends. Our article seeks to redress this firstly by examining why they have remained relatively hidden in academic analyses and secondly by advocating an interpretive approach that incorporates think tanks within the wider landscape of health policy and planning. In contrast to most existing literature, an interpretive approach acknowledges that much of the messy business of healthcare policy and planning remains hidden from view and that much can be gleaned by examining the range of organisations, actors, coalitions, everyday activities, artefacts and interactions that make up the think tank stage and that work together to shape health policy and planning. Given the paucity of research in this area, we urge the medical sociology community to open the field to further academic scrutiny.
    Sociology of Health & Illness 09/2013; 36(3). DOI:10.1111/1467-9566.12071
  • BMJ (online) 09/2013; 347:f5429. DOI:10.1136/bmj.f5429
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    ABSTRACT: Structured diabetes care can improve outcomes and reduce risk of complications, but improving care in a deprived, ethnically diverse area can prove challenging. This report evaluates a system change to enhance diabetes care delivery in a primary care setting. All 35 practices in one inner London Primary Care Trust were geographically grouped into eight networks of four to five practices, each supported by a network manager, clerical staff and an educational budget. A multidisciplinary team developed a 'care package' for type 2 diabetes management, with financial incentives based on network achievement of targets. Monthly electronic performance dashboards enabled networks to track and improve performance. Network multidisciplinary team meetings including the diabetic specialist team supported case management and education. Key measures for improvement included the number of diabetes care plans completed, proportion of patients attending for digital retinal screen and proportions of patients achieving a number of biomedical indices (blood pressure, cholesterol, glycated haemoglobin). Between 2009 and 2012, completed care plans rose from 10% to 88%. The proportion of patients attending for digital retinal screen rose from 72% to 82.8%. The proportion of patients achieving a combination of blood pressure ≤140/80 mm Hg and cholesterol ≤4 mmol/L rose from 35.3% to 46.1%. Mean glycated haemoglobin dropped from 7.80% to 7.66% (62-60 mmol/mol). Investment of financial, organisational and education resources into primary care practice networks can achieve clinically important improvements in diabetes care in deprived, ethnically diverse communities. This success is predicated on collaborative working between practices, purposively designed high-quality information on network performance and engagement between primary and secondary care clinicians.
    BMJ quality & safety 09/2013; 23(2). DOI:10.1136/bmjqs-2013-002008
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    ABSTRACT: Telehealth and telecare research has been dominated by efficacy trials. The field lacks a sophisticated theorisation of [a] what matters to older people with assisted living needs; [b] how illness affects people's capacity to use technologies; and [c] the materiality of assistive technologies. We sought to develop a phenomenologically and socio-materially informed theoretical model of assistive technology use. Forty people aged 60-98 (recruited via NHS, social care and third sector) were visited at home several times in 2011-13. Using ethnographic methods, we built a detailed picture of participants' lives, illness experiences and use (or non-use) of technologies. Data were analysed phenomenologically, drawing on the work of Heidegger, and contextualised using a structuration approach with reference to Bourdieu's notions of habitus and field. We found that participants' needs were diverse and unique. Each had multiple, mutually reinforcing impairments (e.g. tremor and visual loss and stiff hands) that were steadily worsening, culturally framed and bound up with the prospect of decline and death. They managed these conditions subjectively and experientially, appropriating or adapting technologies so as to enhance their capacity to sense and act on their world. Installed assistive technologies met few participants' needs; some devices had been abandoned and a few deliberately disabled. Successful technology arrangements were often characterised by 'bricolage' (pragmatic customisation, combining new with legacy devices) by the participant or someone who knew and cared about them. With few exceptions, the current generation of so-called 'assisted living technologies' does not assist people to live with illness. To overcome this irony, technology providers need to move beyond the goal of representing technology users informationally (e.g. as biometric data) to providing flexible components from which individuals and their carers can 'think with things' to improve the situated, lived experience of multi-morbidity. A radical revision of assistive technology design policy may be needed.
    Social Science [?] Medicine 09/2013; 93C:86-94. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.05.036
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Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 12/2009 Degree: PhD Supervisor: Prof Alexis Benos
Implementation Science 04/2015; 10(1-1):45. DOI:10.1186/s13012-015-0229-x