CECAN Seminar: "Complexity, Power and Evidence in the UK Healthcare Sector:...
You are warmly invited to the latest in CECAN's seminar series.
"Complexity, Power and Evidence in the UK Healthcare Sector: A Case Study of E-Health Research"
Trish Greenhalgh, Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences and Fellow of Green Templeton College at the University of Oxford.
November 11th 2016, 1-2 pm, Food Standards Agency, London
Linear models of research and research impact are being replaced in the social sciences with dynamic ones that emphasise the complexity of interactions and non-linear chains of causation. But the idea of emergent knowledge production in intersectoral networks sits awkwardly with medicine’s rationalist ethos and rigid hierarchies of evidence, in which the randomised controlled trial still rules supreme and (arguably) serves the vested interests of a knowledge-power nexus of industry, university elites and senior policymakers. This presentation will consider research into new information and communication technologies in healthcare to illustrate how the naïve pursuit of generalisable truths about ‘what works’ through randomised trials has taken e-health research down an epistemological cul de sac. Software, of all innovations, must be embedded, agile and constantly evolving in dialogue with the individuals, organisations and policymakers who seek to harness its potential. But randomised trial designs strip away this embeddedness to produce ‘pure’ experiments devoid of social, political and personal contexts. This matters much more in the study of technologies than in the study of drug efficacy (for which the randomised trial generally works well). The ICT revolution will never transform healthcare until the élites who define ‘rigour’ and ‘evidence’ are prepared to move on from their clockwork universe.
Trish Greenhalgh is Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences and Fellow of Green Templeton College at the University of Oxford. She studied Medical, Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge and Clinical Medicine at Oxford before training as an academic GP. She has previously worked at University College London (1986-2010) and Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry (2010-2014).
Trish leads a programme of research at the interface between the social sciences and medicine. Her work seeks to celebrate and retain the traditional and the humanistic aspects of medicine and healthcare while also embracing the unparalleled opportunities of contemporary science and technology to improve health outcomes and relieve suffering. Three particular interests are the health needs and illness narratives of minority and disadvantaged groups; the introduction of technology-based innovations in healthcare; and the complex links (philosophical and empirical) between research, policy and practice. She is the author of 250 peer-reviewed publications and 8 textbooks. She was awarded the OBE for Services to Medicine by Her Majesty the Queen in 2001 and made a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2014.
*Refreshments available, please bring your own lunch.
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