About People, Systems and Services

What do we do and why 

We believe that the care and treatment that people experience in services being delivered in increasingly complex systems of health and social care depends on the people that work in these systems. We believe that “work” is not something undertaken unthinkingly and that the care and treatment people receive depends on the preparation, values, judgements and clinical decisions made with, for and by health and social care professionals and support staff – the workforce. Technology, innovations and research evidence is often cited as a solution to healthcare problems and uncertainties. But adopting health technologies and evidence-based innovation is not a passive process. It depends on the people targeted using and receiving these interventions and the contexts in which they are used. Technology, innovation, resource use and evidence-based practice are social phenomenon as well as technical and cognitive; we research these socio-technical processes and the impacts on services, patients and society.

We think that understanding how people work in (and experience) systems and services, including how they reason, make judgements and decisions and use technologies, helps us design and evaluate ways of improving those systems and services to benefit members of the public, and to enable the workforce to meet the challenge of increasing demand and changing demography. We use a range of qualitative and quantitative research designs and methods to create this understanding. 

Our work

  • Developing and evaluating “complex” interventions (for example, electronic dashboards for providing information on quality for health service staff) 
  • Exploring and modelling the relationship between health and social care workforce and quality of care and life for care home residents 
  • Estimating the costs and benefits associated with efforts improve quality attributable to the workforce in the NHS and Higher Education – for example, evaluating Values Based Recruitment
  • Modelling and predicting how healthcare professionals reason (make judgements and decisions) about the uncertainties they face in clinical practice
  • Developing, testing and evaluating novel ways of translating research evidence for healthcare professionals, commissioners, patients and carers
  • Exploring the impact of new technologies on the delivery of healthcare (for example, how robotic surgery changes the division of labour within the operating theatre). 

How we do our research

Working collaboratively is important to us. We work with researchers from other universities, patients, public, practitioners, providers, commissioners and policy makers to address questions of importance to local, national and international health and social care economies. All of our academics welcome enquiries from potential students and are always happy to provide MSc project topics linked to the group. We have strong working links to the care home industry and the University of Maastricht in particular.