Centre for Health Leadership & Enterprise

Previous CUH Research

Research projects previously engaged under the previously existing Cambridge University Health research centre include:

Benchmarking Health Policy

Suzanne Wait, Charlotte Sausman, Sheila Leatherman, Sandra Dawson, Pam Garside

The purpose of this project is to assess the policy relevance of indicators used for benchmarking the quality, performance and outcomes of health care systems. The project aims to further the methodology for benchmarking by adding a policy dimension to the state-of-the-art of indicator development. This will involve mapping existing benchmarking indicators against health policy priorities. Policy priorities and indicators will be drawn from international organisations as well as local policy frameworks. The resulting model will assess how well the indicators reflect current policy priorities, as well as how results of benchmarking may inform health policy analysis at a national level. This model will then be tested in four selected policy areas: cancer policy, mental health policy, the introduction of new technologies and patient involvement in healthcare. The project aims to take a comparative international approach, thus analysis will be conducted in the UK and its four devolved states, Canada, France and Sweden.

Visit the Benchmarking Health Policy webpages »

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Dispensary Automation: New Technology in Hospital Pharmacy

Michael Barrett, Eivor Oborn, Wanda Orlikowski (MIT), JoAnne Yates (MIT)

This longitudinal study examines the adoption of a dispensing robot in two hospital pharmacies. Using qualitative methods, we examine changes in the work practices of pharmacists, technicians and pharmacy assistants. Our theoretical interests concern the impact of technology on boundary relations and professional work identity.


Oborn, E. and Barrett, M. (2008) "The adoption of dispensing technology: an occasion for restructuring hospital pharmacy work." International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 16(2): 109-114

Barrett, M., Oborn, E., Orlikowski, W. and Yates, J. (2007) "Boundary relations: technological objects and the restructuring of workplace boundaries." Academy of Management, Philadelphia, August 2007. (Also Cambridge Judge Business School Working Paper No.16/2007)

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Health Information Systems Programme (HISP)

Geoff Walsham

Walsham has been involved in the network known as the Health Information Systems Programme (HISP), an international collaborative project concerned with developing information systems to support health care in developing countries.


Sahay, S. and Walsham, G. (2006) "Scaling of health information systems in India: challenges and approaches." Information Technology for Development, 12(3): 185-200

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Hospital Reconfiguration

Eivor Oborn, Ara Darzi (Imperial College London)

Our study examines publicly available documents concerning the controversial reconfiguration of Kidderminster Hospital in the British midlands. We are particularly interested in the processes of resisting change and developing policy implications, which can feedback to the current NHS reform being conducted by Lord Ara Darzi.


Oborn E. "Legitimacy of hospital reconfiguration: the controversial downsizing of Kidderminster Hospitals." Journal of Health Service Research and Policy, 13(2): 11-18

Oborn, E. (2007) "Contested institutional legitimacy: a study of a hospital closure." Health Service Research Network, Birmingham, June 2007.

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Impact of the NHS's Ten-Year Quality Agenda

Kim Sutherland

This project comprises the final report in a series commissioned by the Nuffield Trust, which has tracked the impact of the ten-year quality agenda as announced in 1998. This work provides an assessment of progress to date in achieving the aims of the quality agenda in health, and discusses policy and strategy options for the future. It is based on both quantitative and qualitative data, drawing on a wide range of sources of performance data in England, often contextualised by comparative international data, and on a series of interviews and seminars with expert informants.


Leatherman, S. and Sutherland, K. (2005) The quest for quality in the NHS: a chartbook. Oxford: Radcliffe.

Leatherman, S. and Sutherland, K. (2004) "The quest for quality in the English NHS: strategic and policy issues." Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, 9(4):194-196

Leatherman S and Sutherland K (2004) "Quality of care in the NHS of England." British Medical Journal, 328(7445): E288-290

Leatherman, S. and Sutherland, K. (2003) The quest for quality in the NHS: a mid-term evaluation of the ten-year quality agenda. London: TSO.

Leatherman, S. and Sutherland, K. (1998) Evolving quality in the new NHS. London: The Nuffield Trust.

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The Informed Patient

Don Detmer, Peter Singleton, A. Macleod, Marie Taylor, Suzanne Wait, Jolyon Ridgwell
Funded by Johnson & Johnson

"The Informed Patient" project is a research initiative aimed at guiding future policy on the provision of information to patients in Europe. The objective was to produce a discussion paper exploring the wider perspectives of what information patients need to be fully engaged in the management of their healthcare and developing possible policy approaches for the future. The project was led by Professor Don Detmer. The scope of the project is limited to aspects concerning 'patients' with illnesses requiring treatment and care, rather than the wider question of informing the 'citizen' on health promotion, disease prevention and healthy lifestyles.

Visit The Informed Patient webpages »

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Large Scale Healthcare Reform

Eivor Oborn, Ara Darzi (Imperial College London)

This ongoing study examines current health reform relating to the London Health Review. The London review sought to develop a 10 year strategy for the newly created regional London NHS. The first phase of the project studies the process of developing the new vision for health services through extensive stakeholder engagement and reviewing international standards of best practice. The process of public engagement and local implementation are currently being followed.


Darzi, A., Oborn, E. and Howitt, P. "Redefining healthcare and the critical task of engaging stakeholders: lessons from London." (Currently under peer review)

Darzi, A., Oborn, E. and Howitt, P (2007) "Building healthcare strategy: cradle to grave." British Journal of Healthcare Management, 13(12): 468-472

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Multidisciplinary Teamwork

Eivor Oborn, Sandra Dawson

This project was doctoral research (2002-2006) undertaken to examine the processes collaboration and knowledge sharing in a multidisciplinary team setting. Ethnographic field research methods were used to study work practice in two cancer teams, focusing on meetings and joint working. Our guiding research question concerned what hinders and what facilitates multidisciplinary collaboration.


Oborn, E. and Dawson, S. "Constructing knowledge in professional practice: dynamics in multidisciplinary teamwork." (Currently under peer review)

Oborn, E. and Dawson, S. (2005) "Effective knowing in multidisciplinary practice." Cambridge Judge Business School Working Papers, No.15/2005. Cambridge: University of Cambridge.

Oborn, E. and Dawson, S. (2005) "Bounded knowledge and social identities in multidisciplinary work teams." Academy of Management, August 2005, Hawaii, USA.

Oborn, E. and Dawson, S. (2004) "Team meetings as social objects: their role in constructing healthcare knowledge and practice." European Group on Organisation Studies, July 2004, Slovenia.

Oborn, E. and Dawson, S. (2003) "Establishing new practice: overcoming the distance between network groups." European Group on Organisational Studies, July 2003, Copenhagen, Denmark.

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Policy Futures for UK Health

Sandra Dawson, Pam Garside

An extensive programme of health policy futures work has been sponsored by the Nuffield Trust over eight years. The output of these programmes has been recognised in the UK and elsewhere as seminally important in developing future policies.

The work of Detmer and other associates on quality and safety, a national framework for clinical decision support, electronic patient records and other aspects of health in the internet age has attracted great attention in the USA and UK.

Visit the Policy Futures for UK Health webpages »

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The Quest for Quality and Improved Performance (QQUIP) Project

Kim Sutherland

QQUIP is a multidisciplinary, five-year, £2.5m project funded by the Health Foundation. QQUIP monitors and reports on a wide range of quality indicators in the NHS; collates evidence about "what works" to improve performance; and studies cost effectiveness and value for money in healthcare spending.


Sutherland, K., Leatherman, S. and Christianson, J. (2008) Patient-targeted incentives: paying the patient - does it work? London: The Health Foundation, October 2008

Leatherman, S. and Sutherland, K. (2007) Patient and public experience in the NHS. London: The Health Foundation.

Sutherland, K. and Leatherman, S. (2006) "Does certification improve medical standards?" British Medical Journal, 333: 439-441

Sutherland, K. and Leatherman, S. (2006) Regulation and quality improvement: a review of the evidence. London: The Health Foundation.

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Role of ICTs to Support Knowledge Sharing in Global Organisations

Michael Barrett, Geoff Walsham

We were involved in a three-year research programme to investigate the role of information and communications technologies (ICTs) to support knowledge sharing in global organisations. One of the field studies was carried out in the World Health Organisation.


Barrett, M., Fryatt, B., Walsham, G. and Joshi, S. (2005) "Building bridges between local and global knowledge: new ways of working at the World Health Organisation." Knowledge Management for Development, 1(2): 31-46

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Service Innovation in Cancer Care

Michael Barrett, Panos Constantinides (Lancaster University), Eivor Oborn

This study builds on previous work on multidisciplinary collaboration in cancer care by examining the scale up of multidisciplinary teams to a network level. The growth of this collaborative form is accompanied by the implementation of new information systems to coordinate the knowledge sharing process.


Barrett, M., Constantinides, P. and Oborn, E. (2007) "Institutional working and service innovation in UK cancer care delivery." European Group on Organisational Studies, July 2007.

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Understanding Institutional Influences on Cancer Care Accessibility, Quality and Innovativeness

Michael Barrett, Eivor Oborn, Bill Mackillop (Queen's University) Yolande Chan (Queen's University)
Collaborating with Royston Greenwood, Trish Reay (University of Alberta); Ann Langley (HEC)

We are at the early stages of this international project. The project will examine the social and organisational issues concerning the diffusion of healthcare practices in Canada. We hope to secure funds to do a comparative study in UK.

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Use of Computer-based Information Systems in Acute Healthcare Settings

Matthew Jones

Systems studied have included: hospital wide electronic patient records, electronic prescribing and medicines administration; and clinical information systems in an intensive care setting. Jones has also written on the policy approach to electronic records in the UK and undertaken comparative work on electronic records in hospitals in the Netherlands.


Jones, M.R. (2004) "Learning the lessons of history? Electronic records in the United Kingdom acute hospitals 1988-2002." Health Informatics Journal, 10(4): 253-263

Jones, M.R. (2003) "'Computers can land people on Mars, why can't they get them to work in a hospital?' Implementation of an electronic patient record system in a UK hospital." Methods of Information in Medicine, 42(4): 410-415

Jones, M.R. (2001) "An interpretive method for the formative evaluation of an electronic patient record system." In Remenyi, D. and Brown, A. (eds.): 8th European Conference on IT Evaluation, September 2001, Oxford, UK.

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