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Best practice on design of personal health records: Practitioners perspectives and experiences on improving quality of care


   School of Computing

  Dr Elisavet Andrikopoulou, Dr Helena Herrera  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3-year full-time or 6-year part time PhD project.

The PhD will be based in the School of Computing and will be supervised by Dr Elisavet Andrikopoulou and Dr Helena Herrera.

The work on this project will:

  • use the realist evaluation framework as its overarching theoretical approach to identify the optimal configurations of context, mechanism and outcomes in the design of personal health records for improvement on quality of care;
  • employ mixed methods: qualitative exploration of practitioners’ experience through observation, interviews and prototyping; quantitative analysis of outcome variables such as work-life balance, metrics of usability, patient outcomes and quality of care;
  • be a collaboration between the School of Computing and the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences. If the application is successful we will select a suitably qualified third supervisor from industry. We have excellent networks with healthcare organisations, government agencies and professional bodies so that this project can work with current personal health record initiatives and be recognised at regional, national and international levels.

Project description

The aim of this project is to determine how best to design and use personal health records to improve the quality of care and practitioners’ work-life balance. The project will apply the principles of human-computer interaction and use practitioner-defined information standards within a realist evaluation framework to understand what works, for whom and in what circumstances.

The NHS Long Term Plan anticipates that increasing usage of health apps by patients will reduce demand on healthcare services and it focuses on increasing personalisation in healthcare to improve quality of life and public health and aspires that ICT can reduce healthcare costs and improve healthcare outcomes over the next five years. 

The department of Health and journal articles in BMJ Open and BMC advocate that personal health records are able to improve patient-clinician relationship, however practitioners have several concerns about using them, including increased workload, the potential inability to access them or separate people who do not use them, and increasing health inequalities based on digital literacy (Miller et al, 2016; Fylan et al, 2018; Lester et al, 2016).

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has led work with NHS England, the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Nursing and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry to develop a framework for medicines optimisation. Inspired by the study of Nielsen and Levy (1994), regarding the differences between the subjective user preferences and objective performance/outcome of an application, further work is needed to identify the perspectives of not only the patients but also the clinicians. This accords with the software developmental methodologies, agreeing on the importance of gathering requirements from all the stakeholders. 

This project is a collaboration between the School of Computing and the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences.

General admissions criteria

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific candidate requirements

This project would particularly suit a student with some experience of the health service and the IT industry, though specialist expertise is not required.

How to Apply

We encourage you to contact Dr Elisavet Andrikopoulou () to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code below.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the https://www.port.ac.uk/study/courses/pgr-health-informatics?utm_campaign=pg2022_uop_pgr&utm_medium=listing&utm_source=findaphd&utm_content=health_informatics" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Health Informatics PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

When applying please quote project code:COMP5851023


Funding Notes

Self-funded PhD students only.
PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK students only).

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