Evidence use as socio-material practice A qualitative study of decision-making on introducing service innovations in health care

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30 March 2021

Published journal: Public Management Review


A policy aspiration is that evidence should inform decision-making on introducing health service innovations. Internationally, innovation adoption has historically been slow and patchy. Three innovations in the English and Scottish National Health Service were analysed qualitatively: stroke service reconfiguration; revised national guidance on cancer referral; and ‘virtual’ glaucoma outpatient clinics. The authors identify three socio-material mechanisms through which evidence and context shape each other in decision-making: connecting, ordering, resisting. Shared preferences for research evidence enabled the medical profession to exert influence on decision-making, while other professions used alternative evidence. Implications for promoting inclusive public management around service innovations are discussed.


Simon Turner, Danielle D´Lima, Jessica Sheringham, Nick Swart, Emma Hudson, Stephen Morris & Naomi J. Fulop (2021) Evidence use as sociomaterial practice? A qualitative study of decision-making on introducing service innovations in health care, Public Management Review.

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