Presentation on theme: "When quality meets quantity: the role of qualitative data in framing health inequalities policy Chris Carmona, Catherine Swann and Mike Kelly National."— Presentation transcript:
When quality meets quantity: the role of qualitative data in framing health inequalities policy Chris Carmona, Catherine Swann and Mike Kelly National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
Summary A brief overview of work undertaken by CPHE and the HDA that is aimed at integrating qualitative data into the evidence base
A case study in the rational model of policy making Health inequalities in England 1997 to the present day!!
A rational approach would involve….. Review of policy options Political considerations Data, evidence Political possibilities The art of persuasion
The evidence based approach to health inequalities
Pre-1997 Inequalities in Health Debates The Acheson Report The Our Healthier Nation White Paper
NHS R&D Strategy Systematic approach to using scientific evidence in public health knowledge base to be brought together identifying gaps underpin OHN and NHS Plan make the evidence base accessible provide high quality evidence to reduce inequalities in health
Questions Did this mean quantitative data only? Did this favour one kind of methodological approach?
Commitment to multiple methods, including qualitative approaches
Immersion in the key debates The primacy of the RCT The complexity of the field Effectiveness is the wrong question etc.
A limited evidence base Evidence about what works to reduce inequalities very limited About 0.4% of published scientific papers discuss interventions which might reduce inequalities About the same percentage of funded research concerned with interventions Rich in description, weak on solution. But it is possible to identify effective interventions.
Starting Point First stage to synthesise review level work in public health priority areas Second stage to bring in other forms of scientific evidence Third stage to work towards the synthesis of evidence from different research traditions
Teenage pregnancy HIV/AIDS STIs Smoking Alcohol X2 Drugs X3 Obesity Low birth weight Breastfeeding X3 Youth Suicide Life course Infant nutrition Public health economics Work, job satisfaction and psychological health Grading evidence Qualitative evidence synthesis Social support in pregnancy Physical activity X3 Mental health Accidental injury Health Impact Assessment Transport Gradients and gaps Health Impact Assessment Housing Work and worklessness Chronic illness Second hand smoke Systematic review definitions Smoking and inequalities
Public Health Intervention Guidance Public Health Programme Guidance
Qualitative evidence useful as data when: It addresses key research questions for guidance development It gives access to hard-to-reach or under-researched populations It is well conducted
Qualitative techniques useful in the production of guidance: For field-testing draft recommendations For developing implementation tools and processes Innovative techniques may be needed to optimise the process
What has the process demonstrated?
Importance of tailored and targeted approaches Multi level and multifaceted approaches often effective Theoretically well informed works best Can develop guidance on the basis of the existing evidence
The precise nature of the causal pathways and the different dimensions of inequality is under-investigated The health interaction between different aspects of inequalities not highly developed.
The ways in which interventions work in different segments of the population not well understood The implications of the demographic and social structure not linked to health data
Gaps in the evidence
Gaps in the initial formulation of primary research studies. Gap between evidence and practice
How to do it Process data Implementation problems Local infrastructures data
Better evidence about downstream rather than upstream interventions Morbidity data much less secure than mortality data Extremely limited evidence about major policy initiatives Lack of good cost effectiveness data
The evidence as a framework of plausible possibilities The evidence as a starting point for intervention not an imperative or a recipe The need to use multiple methods
Where quantity meets quality
Thresholds of qualitative data Contested Qualitative approaches highly heterogeneous in themselves Require different criteria to determine what would constitute a fatal flaw Horses for courses