Healthcare Research Methods and Observations

Subject: Healthcare Research
Pages: 5
Words: 1455
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: Bachelor

Research article Ethnographic study of incidence and severity of intravenous drug errors by Taxis and Barber (2003b) uses observation for qualitative data collection. Wards and hospitals were selected for observation through a purposive sampling strategy, followed by a pilot test to determine 10 wards (Taxis & Barber, 2003b, p. 1). During the observation, the researcher recorded preparation and administration using a standardized form. It is noted that “the ethics committees of the participating hospitals approved the study” (Taxis & Barber, 2003b, p. 3). The study does not separately emphasize whether individual consent was obtained from medical staff and patients.

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The method applied in the study allowed the researchers to collect sufficient data to achieve the research objective. Data analysis proceeded through the expression of quantity “incidence of intravenous drug errors is expressed in two ways: errors per dose and errors per process stage” (Taxis & Barber, 2003b, p. 2). The proportions were then calculated, and the findings were described. The results of the study were justified, as the findings of the study only describe the results obtained through observation. Researchers indicate the number of mistakes made, as well as determine at what stages they were committed, which corresponds to the chosen research method.

The strength of this method is the ability to collect data in a clinical setting directly. At the same time, the presence of the observer and the intervention could influence the results of the observation, which is refuted in the article with reference to another study.

The researchers also used interviews with observers to gather additional information. This method does not seem significant within the framework of this study, as it does not provide essential information. In my opinion, this method is suitable, although the study was carried out on a fairly small sample. However, I would also use a survey of hospital records to look at the official error incidence statistics for comparison of results.

Research article Causes of intravenous medication errors: An ethnographic study by Taxis and Barber (2003a) uses observation for qualitative data collection. During data collection, the investigator accompanied the nurses in the clinical setting and recorded the actions of participants, and described events. The data obtained during the observations were coded based on “Reason’s four-stage model of human error theory” (Taxis & Barber, 2003a, p. 2). The researchers note that individual consent was obtained from each participating nurse for the observation. Additionally, the study was approved by hospitals’ committees, ward managers, pharmacy and nursing directorates.

The applied research method allowed collecting sufficient information to identify the various causes of errors in drug administration and to achieve the research objective. The researchers analyzed each individual case of error “to identify the main active failure and the factors contributing to this error ” (Taxis & Barber, 2003a, p. 2). A framework developed in earlier studies was used to categorize the identified failures. The findings of the study are justified as they are presented solely on the basis of the collected data. The results describe the number of errors and their causes, which is consistent with the information obtained during the observations.

Among the advantages of the method used, one can single out the possibility of obtaining reliable and relevant information from the clinical setting. However, data collection was carried out in only two hospitals, which significantly limits the possibility of generalizing the results. The researchers used participant interviews to collect additional research information. In the framework of this study, this method is useful, as it allows one to identify a wider range of possible causes of errors. In my opinion, observation is an effective method for this study, which was completely suitable for its conduct.

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Research article Facilitation of a person-centered approach in health assessment of patients with chronic pain: An ethnographic study by Thórarinsdóttir et al. (2019) uses semi-structured interviews for the qualitative data collection. The study participants are nurses and chronic pain patients in the rehabilitation wand of a hospital in Iceland. The researchers note that written consent was obtained from all study participants, as well as approval from the ethical committee of the hospital. Additionally, the identifying information of the participants, including names, was removed from the results, and data protection authority was informed of the study.

The chosen method allowed the researchers to collect sufficient information to achieve the objective. However, in relation to one of the points, the researchers recommend observations in a different setting to obtain additional data. The data were analyzed using thematic analysis, as well as identifying codes and grouping them into the thematic map. The findings are consistent with the collected data and were justified, as they reflected the identified topics and sub-topics supporting the central points. The strength of the chosen method is to provide patients with flexible and comprehensive answers within the framework of a seven-structured interview.

This method helps to collect more diverse qualitative data and in-depth analysis. The main possible challenge of the applied method is data analysis since the results of the thematic analysis may depend on the researchers. The observation was a complementary method that the researchers used; this observation, which ensured both adherence to procedures and the collection of additional information. I think that within the framework of this study, it is also necessary to apply standardized questionnaires to provide an initial and general assessment.

Research article Identifying patient safety problems during team rounds: An ethnographic study by Lamba, Linn and Fletcher (2014) uses observation for the qualitative data collection. Observations were previously conducted by two separate observers to compare the data and then by a single observer to record safety issues. With regard to ethics, “a waiver of written informed consent was granted” (Lamba et al., 2014, p. 668). The approval was obtained from the Institutional Review Board of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The applied method allowed researchers to collect sufficient data to achieve the research objective.

The analysis of the results was carried out using descriptive statistics, which made it possible to identify the number and frequency of issues. The research findings were justified since the presented results are a description of the data obtained and correspond to them.

The possible strengths of the applied method include the variety of identified issues. The most obvious disadvantage of the research method is the presence of one observer. The researchers themselves note that the records of different observers often do not coincide with each other. Additionally, the study sample is extremely limited, and the observation setting was not uniform. In general, the study allows for a high risk of bias and interpretation, which depends on the individual observer. At the same time, the categorization was carried out on the basis of the London Protocol, which simplifies standardization.

The observers themselves decided to which category a particular item should be assigned, but they also received preliminary training. I think the chosen method is suitable for the study, but it is necessary to use more independent observers at the same time to improve the accuracy of the collected data.

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Research article The differences in antibiotic decision-making between acute surgical and acute medical teams: An ethnographic study of culture and team dynamics by Charani et al. (2019) uses observation for the qualitative data collection. Sampling was conducted to select a wand in the central London teaching hospital with “a high percentage of elective admissions, and nonelective admissions” (Charani et al., 2019, p. 13).

UK National Research Ethics Committee granted the ethical approval for the study. Additionally, the researchers received consent from the participants before starting the observations. The applied method allowed the researchers to collect sufficient data to achieve the objective of the study. The analysis of the results was carried out using the classic grounded theory approach. The findings were first coded, then categorized into themes, after which a relationship was established between them. The results of the study were justified as the researchers provided detailed notes that were later used in the analysis, as well as the data collection and analyzing process description.

The strengths of this method are that it allowed researchers to identify characteristics of teams from different settings. At the same time, the probable challenge is data analysis, which implies categorization and the possibility of interpretation. The study also used the face-to-face interview method to obtain additional data on decision-making. This approach within the framework of the study is extremely useful, as it allows one to identify the possible causes of the observed events. The applied method is the most effective in the framework of this study, especially in combination with interviews. At the same time, researchers should use not only surgical and acute medical teams for observations but also groups from other settings to obtain more comprehensive data.

References

Charani, E., Ahmad, R., Rawson, T. M., Castro-Sanchèz, E., Tarrant, C., & Holmes, A. H. (2019). The differences in antibiotic decision-making between acute surgical and acute medical teams: An ethnographic study of culture and team dynamics. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 69(1), 12-20. Web.

Lamba, R., Linn, K., & Fletcher, K. E. (2014). Identifying patient safety problems during team rounds: An ethnographic study. BMJ Quality & Safety, 23(8), 667-669. Web.

Taxis, K., & Barber, N. (2003a). Causes of intravenous medication errors: An ethnographic study. Quality and Safety in Health Care, 12(5), 1-7.

Taxis, K., & Barber, N. (2003b). Ethnographic study of incidence and severity of intravenous drug errors. British Medical Journal, 326(7391), 1-4.

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Thórarinsdóttir, K., Kristjánsson, K., Gunnarsdóttir, T. J., & Björnsdóttir, K. (2019). Facilitation of a person-centered approach in health assessment of patients with chronic pain: An ethnographic study. Qualitative Health Research, 29(4), 471-483. Web.