Increasing evidence informed decision making practices among senior non-clinical NHS managers.
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STEVENSON, P. 2017. Increasing evidence informed decision making practices among senior non-clinical NHS managers. Robert Gordon University, DInfSc thesis.
There is limited engagement with research based evidence among senior managers within the NHS, and a failure to consistently integrate research findings into the decision making process. While much is known about the decision making and information behaviour of clinical staff and policy makers, there is little knowledge of this for senior non-clinical managers within the NHS. There is also a lack of clarity on how best to facilitate and integrate research evidence into the decision making process and a lack of research regarding the context of non-clinical healthcare managers working in the NHS. This study addresses these shortcomings through in-depth analysis in a case study approach. Data was collected through semi-structured interview, questionnaire and observed scenario work. This data was analysed to increase knowledge and understanding of the current information behaviour and decision making practices of non-medical senior management staff working within the NHS in England. Several key barriers to research utilisation were identified in the analysis of the data. These barriers included insufficient information literacy skills in the cohort, shortcomings with the published research papers, a culture which was focused on achieving politically set targets, and a lack of defined processes to decision making. To address these barriers an embedded librarian and a SharePoint based knowledge management system were implemented and evaluated. Evaluation of these interventions concluded that an embedded librarian was effective in increasing and supporting evidence informed decision making. This provides a practical example of an effective service development which should be considered for implementation across the NHS and wider healthcare community. The study also recommends that, to increase use of their output, researchers need to include more explicit information on the implementation and financial elements of their findings rather than a narrow focus on the intervention outcome. In addition, findings showed the target driven culture of the NHS create an environment that stifles evidence informed decision making. To address this barrier the study recommends that the NHS adopts methods of quality assurance and metrics which place an emphasis on measures of process. This study contributes to theory by exploring the information behaviour of a specific group which have been overlooked in previous research, and contributes new understanding of mechanisms for knowledge translation and interactions between the research based evidence and decision making processes in the context of NHS non-clinical management.