Archive for May, 2011

ACB’s role in the introduction of video-assisted health clinics

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Technology is a vital resource that may be applied to ease the growing demands on the NHS; namely, through the introduction of Video Assisted Clinics (VACs), which reduce transport costs for both staff and for those requiring regular follow-up care. A VAC study has been piloted using Renal clinic outpatients, where a video link enabled the patient to talk to their consultant Nephrologist in his office in a key medical centre in Sussex. Although the immediate benefits outlined above may be obvious, the implementation of VACs on a wider scale can only come about when the health benefits for the patient have been confirmed. The self-efficacy of the patient will depend on their engagement and involvement during the VAC, but, as health psychology widely recognises, such matters cannot be determined through staff and patient feedback alone. Feedback forms have been circulated, but may be subject to bias and demand characteristics. The unique ethnographic microanalysis conducted by ACB, used in conjunction with such feedback, provides the richest insights into ways that the potential of the VAC may be maximised. Through the observation of actual behaviour, engagement may be more accurately assessed, and this may provide a reliable basis for recommendations on how to ensure the patient truly benefits from the VAC.  ACB is facilitating both staff and patient engagement with this invaluable service that, as Chief Executive Duncan Selbie recognises, “will make such a difference to patients with long term conditions.”

In response to ‘The New Tech Bubble’

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Last week The Economist published a speculative article about the ‘tech bubble’ that seems to be growing in the private web market. The estimated value of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are in the billions, while technological advances and the advent of ‘cloud’ systems has meant that it is easier and cheaper than ever to launch online businesses. Such a combination of factors, The Economist warns, may well lead to the kind of naïve and reckless investment not seen since the dotcom boom and bust at the turn of the millennium. A little over a year ago, the same publication warned of similar exuberance distorting the market at a more specific level.  In the TV industry, marketing strategists and investors have continued to lose out, thanks to the unrealistic enthusiasm that has surrounded the release of new technology that allows audiences to control the way they watch TV in previously unimaginable ways. PVRs and recording apps; intuitive set-top boxes and personalised online content providers: these are the kinds of devices that have lead to the spokesperson from Japan’s biggest broadcaster to make such broad statements as, “Nobody feels the need to be at home to catch the 9pm drama any more.” However, as The Economist rightly pointed out in this article: “A change in expectation is not quite the same as a change in behaviour.” Habit and routine still have a determining role in audience viewing behaviour, as does the desire to view socially with friends and family. Such factors are often overlooked by the individual TV viewer faced with an interview or questionnaire. The Economist suggests that the research carried out by ACB provides the most innovative and reliable way of overcoming such tendencies. Only by observing the real behaviour in the natural context surrounding technology use can future uptake be predicted – and, as last week’s article confirms, such caution and level-headedness is even more crucial today as it was then.