Project Update: The use of Patient-Reported Outcomes: Who is Excluded?

A project funded as a Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP) is currently being conducted in partnership between Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) and the College of Social Science, Institute on Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow and the Social Dimensions of Health Institute (SDHI), University of Dundee. This project is linked to initiatives in the health care sector to use Patient Reported Outcome Measures or PROMS to monitor the quality of service delivery in clinical practice. Patient Reported Outcome Measures are questionnaires that ask patients to report on their health or functional status. In England they have mostly been used to monitor changes in outcomes after acute, hospital-based interventions (e.g. hip or knee replacement or varicose vein surgery). They can be used to monitor patients’ health and improve treatment. A pilot has been conducted in England to assess health outcomes of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as well. Clearly, COPD is a major public health concern and the delivery of appropriate, safe and high quality care is critical. The routine use of PROMS, which are typically presented in the form of standardised, text-based questionnaires raises questions about the appropriateness and accessibility of these tools for people with low literacy and/or learning disabilities. These are just two population groups that may be systematically excluded from participation in quality improvement efforts. The team just published a commentary on this issue in the journal Health Expectations.

The ultimate aim of the project is to develop a guide that will help professionals critically evaluate the appropriateness of PROMS and consider reasonable adjustments in the administration of PROMs when confronted with patients who might struggle because of PROMs’ format, design or complexity. The guide will be based on findings from a structured literature review as well as interviews and focus groups with patients and professionals about how PROMs could be made more accessible and easy to use.
The guide will be developed in multiple formats and disseminated to health professionals across NHS Scotland.

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SDHI will host a Webinar presented by Dr Karen Ritchie, Head of Knowledge Management at Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Deepa Jahagirdar, Research Associate at Healthcare Improvement Scotland, on 9th May at 3:30pm (please note this time is different than the one shown on the image!) to introduce the project and discuss findings. If you are interested in participating, please register with us Dr Fred Comerford fac1

We asked, you responded

Recently, we asked you what you would like to see on our SDHI blog. Nearly two-thirds (62%) said they would like to see ‘Short features and progress updates about ongoing projects by SDHI researchers’ , 23% wanted us to report on ‘General scientific news and links to events related to social dimensions of health, wellbeing and participation topics’, and 15% said that they wanted ‘in-depth coverage of events that SDHI is hosting or involved in’. The quick poll did not allow for multiple responses and forced a single response category. In the future, we will provide more short project features and updates and also provide you with links to the most recent publications from ongoing research projects. General scientific news will be reported primarily via our Twitter feeds. At the moment we are exploring to aggregate these in the form of monthly research summaries (SDHI Twitter Research Digest or TRD). Quarterly, we will provide activity summaries and announcements in the form of our newsletter ‘Connections’. We will continue to provide continuous updates on events and may broadcast events live via Twitter, Webinars or (in the future as Video lifestream).

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Symposium on physical activity of people with physical disabilities

SDHI is hosting a mini-symposium on 30 April 2012, 11-15:30 with speakers from Chicago, St Louis/Atlanta, Glasgow and Dundee on ‘Understanding and promoting physical activity of people with disability’. The focus of the brief presentation will be on physical activity in community environments. The aim is to examine the state of the science in this area and to identify new research questions and ideas. Presentations will cover psychosocial and environmental determinants of physical activity engagement for people with physical disabilities (e.g. Stroke, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis). The half day event will be held at the University of Dundee, Dalhousie Building. Our Webinar technology will allow us to broaden audience participation to a wider, international group. If you have a specific research interest in this area, please contact Thilo Kroll or Jacqui Morris or register for the event with Fred Comerford fac1@

AQMeN Seminar on Evidence Evaluation Using Graphs in Edinburgh

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A local seminar presented by Dr Colin Aitken, School of Mathematics and Joseph Bell Centre for Forensic Statistics and Legal Reasoning, University of Edinburgh
Thursday 26th April 2012, 12.30pm-2.00pm
University of Edinburgh, Room 1.11, Main Library, 30 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9LJ

The use of graphs to illustrate the structure of a criminal investigation is not new, being first introduced by Wigmore in 1937 with tree diagrams. A more recent probabilistic approach to the evaluation of evidence us- ing graphs will be described. Pieces of evidence and propositions are represented by nodes and associations between pieces of evidence and propositions are represented by lines joining nodes. The strengths of the associations are measured by probabilities. The technique will be illustrated by an example in offender profiling motivated by an investigation of sexually motivated child murders in the 1990’s and, more recently, the case of R v T (2010, EWCA Crim 2439).

This graph describes a relationship between evidence and a proposition. The proposition can take one of two values: a defendant is guilty or is innocent. The directed edge illustrates the relationship of evidence with this proposition and there is information about the probability of the evidence if the defendant is guilty and the prob- ability of the evidence if the defendant is innocent. Rules of probability can be used to reverse the inference to derive probabilities for guilt and for innocence given the evidence and hence evidential value. The idea can be applied to graphs with many nodes and many edges.
Places are limited
Visit AQMeN to secure your place.

SDHI Webinar Trailer

Watch the new fun SDHI Webinar trailer here.

We will shortly announce a list of upcoming webinars. Ideas and suggestions for Webinar topics of national and international relevance that relate to the social dimensions of health, wellbeing and participation are always welcome. Please get in touch!

Deadline for abstracts for SDHI Patient Safety Conference Fast Approaching

SDHI/NES/SPSRN conference: Making health care safer: learning from social and organisational research

25-26 June 2012, University of St Andrews
Visit the Conference website:

The conference provides an ideal opportunity to meet up with others working in the patient safety field in Scotland, the rest of the UK and Europe and to showcase ongoing or completed work, so do consider submitting an abstract or just coming along to participate in two days of lively discussion and debate in a historic venue a stone’s throw from the beach!

We are pleased to announce that in addition to the parallel sessions to be chosen from submitted abstracts, this year will feature several invited parallel speakers. These will include a welcome return visit from Dr Paul Bowie and Dr Diane Kelly from NES, a session by Jane Jones of The Health Foundation exploring the Foundation’s patient safety work and (in response to requests) a session looking at patient involvement in patient safety led by Professor Ian Watt and Dr Yvonne Birks from the University of York.

We look forward to receiving your abstracts and to seeing you in St Andrews in June!

Kind regards

Huw Davies and Alison Powell

Two weeks left to submit your abstract! Click here for details
Deadline: 5pm Monday 16 April