Is there a place for qualitative research in evidence based medicine? Dr Kate Flemming University of York, UK

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1 Is there a place for qualitative research in evidence based medicine? Dr Kate Flemming University of York, UK

2 YES

3 Questions?

4 For those of you who are still unsure

5 What is the aim of EBM(P)? To reduce uncertainty in clinical decision making, by incorporating appropriate current research evidence in decision making processes (Flemming 2008)

6 Evidence Based Decision Making Evidence from research Clinical Experience EVIDENCE BASED DECISION Patient preferences Available resources

7 Evidence Based Decision Making Evidence from research Clinical Experience EVIDENCE BASED DECISION Patient preferences Available resources

8 Hierarchy of evidence Where s the qualitative research??

9 What research evidence feeds into this piece of the jigsaw depends on the question being asked Quantitative Research Qualitative Research Evidence from research Mixed-methods Research

10 TYPE OF QUESTION EXAMPLE BEST DESIGN Effectiveness of treatment Causation Are bisphosphonates helpful in the relief of pain secondary to bone metastases Are women who take HRT more likely to develop breast cancer? Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) OR Systematic Review of Randomised Controlled Trials Cohort Study Feelings, understanding, perceptions What are the views and perceptions of nurses on breaking bad news? Qualitative research OR Systematic Review (Synthesis) of Qualitative Research

11 Pragmatism in research Methodologies cannot be true or false only more or less appropriate (Atkin and Chatoo 2006)

12 What is qualitative research? A form of naturalistic enquiry which seeks to study people in social settings It covers a very broad range of philosophical underpinnings and methodological approaches Aim is to provide an in-depth understanding of human behaviour, emotion, attitudes and experiences For example the way people manage their lives, health problems and dying are based on the meanings they accord to their illnesses and life circumstances

13 What can it offer palliative care? 1. It can answer different clinical questions A phenomenological study to understand patient and family experiences of health care services in the palliative stages of Parkinson s disease (Giles & Miyasaki 2009) An ethnographic study tracing the changing notions of a good death held by hospice and palliative care practitioners (McNamara 2004)

14 What can it offer palliative care? 1. It can answer different clinical questions A phenomenological study to understand patient and family experiences of health care services in the palliative stages of Parkinson s disease (Giles & Miyasaki 2009) An ethnographic study tracing the changing notions of a good death held by hospice and palliative care practitioners (McNamara 2004)

15 What can it offer palliative care? 2. Contribute to understanding the complexity of health-care, through mixedmethods research Mixed methods research is particularly valuable in palliative care where many interventions are complex and the identification of suitable outcomes is challenging (Farquhar et al 2011) We need to understand the context in which treatments are effective in addition to how they are effective Developing educational interventions for selfmanagement of advanced cancer pain (Bennett, Flemming, Closs, Hughes IMPACCT study)

16 What can it offer palliative care? 3. Enhance the utility, effectiveness and applicability of findings from RCTs: Study planning Recruitment Randomization Study conduct Attrition and missing data Outcome measures Dissemination (Flemming et al 2008)

17 What can it offer palliative care? 4. It can even be synthesised! Synthesis of qualitative research creates a cumulative body of evidence that builds and develops theory for practice in ways that individual studies cannot Qualitative research can access sensitive, rare, and difficult phenomena. Synthesising qualitative research allows maximum value to be gained from primary studies that have overcome problems in accessing and researching difficult settings Syntheses of qualitative research may also complement quantitative research syntheses, providing context for, and giving meaning to evidence of the effectiveness of interventions. (Flemming 2007)

18 Some examples: Educational interventions for symptom management in advanced disease: a synthesis of qualitative research of health professionals knowledge attitudes and ability (Flemming et al 2012) The Use of Morphine to Treat Cancer-Related Pain: A Synthesis of Quantitative and Qualitative Research (Flemming 2010)

19 Use of Evidence In Decision Making Evidence from research Clinical Experience EVIDENCE BASED DECISION Patient preferences Available resources

20 Questions?

21 References Atkin K & Chattoo S (2006) Approaches to conducting qualitative research in ethnically diverse populations in Nazroo JY. (ed) Health and Social Research in Multiethnic Societies, Abingdon, Routledge Farquhar MC, Ewing G, Booth S. (2011) Using mixed methods to develop and evaluate complex interventions in palliative care research Palliative Medicine 25:748 Flemming K, Closs SJ, Bennett MI, Foy R. Educational interventions for symptom management in advanced disease: Synthesis of qualitative research examining health care professionals' perceived knowledge, attitudes and ability. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2012; 43 (5): Flemming K. The use of morphine to treat cancer-related pain: A synthesis of quantitative and qualitative research. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 2010; 39(1): Flemming K, Adamson J, Atkin K. Improving the effectiveness of interventions in palliative care: the potential role of qualitative research in enhancing evidence from randomised controlled trials. Palliative Medicine 2008; 22: Flemming K. The synthesis of qualitative research and evidence based nursing. Evidence Based Nursing 2007;10: Giles S & Miyasaki J. (2009) Palliative stage Parkinson s disease: patient and family experiences of health-care services. Palliative Medicine, 23, McNamara B. (2004) Good enough death: autonomy and choice in Australian palliative care. Social Science and Medicine, 58,

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