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Open Access Right Here Right Now (RHRN) pilot study: testing a method of near-real-time data collection on the social determinants of health

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Background

Informing policy and practice with up-to-date evidence on the social determinants of health is an ongoing challenge. One limitation of traditional approaches is the time-lag between identification of a policy or practice need and availability of results. The Right Here Right Now (RHRN) study piloted a near-real-time data-collection process to investigate whether this gap could be bridged.

Methods

A website was developed to facilitate the issue of questions, data capture and presentation of findings. Respondents were recruited using two distinct methods ‐ a clustered random probability sample, and a quota sample from street stalls. Weekly four-part questions were issued by email, Short Messaging Service (SMS or text) or post. Quantitative data were descriptively summarised, qualitative data thematically analysed, and a summary report circulated two weeks after each question was issued. The pilot spanned 26 weeks.

Results

It proved possible to recruit and retain a panel of respondents providing quantitative and qualitative data on a range of issues. The samples were subject to similar recruitment and response biases as more traditional data-collection approaches. Participants valued the potential to influence change, and stakeholders were enthusiastic about the findings generated, despite reservations about the lack of sample representativeness. Stakeholders acknowledged that decision-making processes are not flexible enough to respond to weekly evidence.

Conclusion

RHRN produced a process for collecting near-real-time data for policy-relevant topics, although obtaining and maintaining representative samples was problematic. Adaptations were identified to inform a more sustainable model of near-real-time data collection and dissemination in the future.

Key messages

RHRN aimed to capture people’s everyday experiences to provide timely insights for policy-makers.

It proved feasible to run a multi-mode weekly data-collection process to inform decision-makers.

Difficulties recruiting a representative sample limited the utility of the quantitative data.

Decision-making processes were not flexible enough to respond to rapid weekly evidence generation.

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Keywords: evidence; policy; real-time; technology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Glasgow Centre for Population Health, UK., Email: [email protected] 2: University of Edinburgh, UK., Email: [email protected] 3: NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, UK., Email: [email protected] 4: University of Glasgow, UK., Email: [email protected] 5: Glasgow School of Art, UK., Email: [email protected] 6: University of Glasgow, UK., Email: [email protected] 7: Glasgow Caledonian University, UK., Email: [email protected] 8: NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, UK., Email: [email protected] 9: University of Glasgow, UK. [email protected] ppevidpol1700010r2w.ac.uk, Email: [email protected] ppevidpol1700010r2w.ac.uk 10: Glasgow School of Art, UK., Email: [email protected] 11: NHS Health Scotland, UK., Email: [email protected] 12: Glasgow Centre for Population Health, UK., Email: [email protected] 13: University of Glasgow, UK., Email: [email protected] 14: Glasgow Centre for Population Health, UK., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: May 31, 2018

This article was made available online on July 18, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Right Here Right Now (RHRN) pilot study: testing a method of near-real-time data collection on the social determinants of health".

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