How the application of social science thinking can support patient-focused work
There’s lots of opportunity to work with patients in an open and sustained fashion to improve outcomes. From collaborating on the design of research, through to producing interventions together or enabling shared decision-making, patient-focused activity can make a real difference. This work requires a blend of skills, and also a blend of knowledge. We need to be cognisant of biological, behavioural and social science to move things forward. Atlas has developed a report that shares five ideas inspired by the social sciences.
1. Don't assume shared understanding. Create it: Social science tells us that experiences frame beliefs. The report looks at how to create stakeholder alignment for patient centricity.
2. Don't mine for insights. Listen to stories: We all make sense of the world through stories. In the healthcare context, listening to these stories can help identify opportunities for improvement.
3. Don't expect evidence to drive adoption. Understand the context: Healthcare is delivered through complex systems. We look at opportunities to improve the implementation and uptake of evidence-based healthcare solutions.
4. Don't just measure. Develop a theory of change: Mechanisms of change can be identified and have become hot topics in healthcare in recent years. Here, we look at how to build a useful evidence base, with the emphasis on useful.
5. Don't forget about Foucault. Words have meaning: Developed by social theorist, Michel Foucault, Foucauldian Discourse Analysis looks at how language suggests and cements power dynamics. Our report explores how to set up collaboration projects that put power in the right hands.
These five ideas are at the heart of the thinking that structures our services and are explored in more depth in our report. It provides tips on how to get started, guidance on building your own action plan for each idea and a detailed workflow to bring it all together.
Take your next step in patient-focused work and access the report here