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The qualities of data: how nurses and their managers act on patient feedback in an English hospital

Desai, Amit, Zoccatelli, Giulia, Donetto, Sara, Robert, Glenn, Allen, Davina ORCID:, Rafferty, Anne Marie and Brearley, Sally 2023. The qualities of data: how nurses and their managers act on patient feedback in an English hospital. Journal of Organizational Ethnography 12 (2) , pp. 194-208. 10.1108/JOE-06-2022-0014

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Purpose To investigate ethnographically how patient experience data, as a named category in healthcare organisations, is actively “made” through the co-creative interactions of data, people and meanings in English hospitals. Design/methodology/approach The authors draw on fieldnotes, interview recordings and transcripts produced from 13 months (2016–2017) of ethnographic research on patient experience data work at five acute English National Health Service (NHS) hospitals, including observation, chats, semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis. Research sites were selected based on performance in a national Adult Inpatient Survey, location, size, willingness to participate and research burden. Using an analytical approach inspired by actor–network theory (ANT), the authors examine how data acquired meanings and were made to act by clinical and administrative staff during a type of meeting called a “learning session” at one of the hospital study sites. Findings The authors found that the processes of systematisation in healthcare organisations to act on patient feedback to improve to the quality of care, and involving frontline healthcare staff and their senior managers, produced shifting understandings of what counts as “data” and how to make changes in response to it. Their interactions produced multiple definitions of “experience”, “data” and “improvement” which came to co-exist in the same systematised encounter. Originality/value The article's distinctive contribution is to analyse how patient experience data gain particular attributes. It suggests that healthcare organisations and researchers should recognise that acting on data in standardised ways will constantly create new definitions and possibilities of such data, escaping organisational and scholarly attempts at mastery.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 2046-6749
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 May 2023
Date of Acceptance: 26 April 2023
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 14:14

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