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Research Fellow Dr Sarah Knowles received the prize for the best PPI presentation at the Health Services Research Network Symposium last week for her paper entitled 'Achieving effective co-design in health research: A preliminary test of the persona workshop method' at last week's symposium.

"The paper discussed the potential for borrowing from the Design Sciences to provide explicit methods for generating and incorporating user experience into the design of health interventions, with the idea that patients themselves are the 'end user' of a service or treatment and so best placed to anticipate how such services should be delivered. Examples were provided from two recent studies, including the NIHR SPCR funded AESOP project (Assessing E-Systems for Offering Psychotherapy). Personas are archetypes of intended users which are presented in narrative form to encourage consideration of their particular needs and context. I discussed the benefits of employing explicit and transparent methods to include patient experiences in design, but also acknowledged that 'codesign' and 'PPI' are not interchangeable, as although PPI often includes codesign it is also much more, relating for example to the relationship between researchers and patients who are involved. The prize, inexplicably, was a pineapple."
Sarah Knowles.

Read Sarah's blog  Zombies and Unicorns in Patient & Public Involvement

although observational data must be interpreted with caution, the evidence suggests that continuity of care, increased access and proximity to care provision influences unscheduled care
- Alyson Huntley

Dr Alyson Huntley, University of Bristol, conveyed her thoughts on the conference:

"After an introduction by Naomi Fulop (HSRN chair), the conference started with an excellent plenary by Nick Black (LSHTM) who talked about the pitfalls of assessing hospital quality by mortality rates. He spoke about the morality of media or the lack of it in reporting of hospital deaths and went to talk about an alternative for assessing hospital quality starting with having a realistic estimate of avoidable deaths in hospital.

There were four periods of parallel sessions during the two day conference. In a session focussing on NHS commissioners. Kath Checkland (University of Manchester) spoke on the complex issue of multiple and evolving accountability within CCGs. In the group question and answer session in response to a question about speed of change, Kath expressed the opinion that she felt this was easier in general practice compared to secondary care. The session also involved discussion about the varying evolution in and around CCGs and that some processes were working better than others between different regions.

In the session on urgent care, there were four interrelated talks. Alicia O’Cathain (University Sheffield) talked about variation in emergency admissions through the country and high-lighted the issue of different processes within A&E that can lead to different coding for its use and any subsequent admissions. I followed with a review of observational studies looking at a wide range of features of primary care that influence unscheduled secondary care. I reported that although observational data must be interpreted with caution, the evidence suggests that continuity of care, increased access and proximity to care provision influences unscheduled care. The influence of proximity to care and patients understanding of what urgent services were on offer came up in all of the talks.

Thursday afternoon Mary Baker MBE (immediate past president of The European Brain council and president of the of their “year of the brain” project”) presented a plenary session which focused on the importance of research being delivered by patient benefit."


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