Improving ethnic monitoring for telephone-based healthcare: a conversation analytic study

Leydon, Geraldine M., Ekberg, Katie, Kelly, Moira and Drew, Paul (2013) Improving ethnic monitoring for telephone-based healthcare: a conversation analytic study. BMJ Open, 3 6: 1-7. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002676

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Author Leydon, Geraldine M.
Ekberg, Katie
Kelly, Moira
Drew, Paul
Title Improving ethnic monitoring for telephone-based healthcare: a conversation analytic study
Journal name BMJ Open   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2044-6055
Publication date 2013-06-28
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002676
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 3
Issue 6
Start page 1
End page 7
Total pages 7
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BMJ Group
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objectives Medical and healthcare organisations—including the national cancer support and helpline organisation that is the subject of this study—are expected to collect and monitor information about the ethnicity of their client populations. Information about ethnicity is important for a variety of reasons, including monitoring need and targeting healthcare services appropriately. Previous survey and interview research has suggested that collecting ethnicity data from service users can be incomplete and of variable quality—pointing to a need for an improved understanding of the (interactional) difficulties involved when call-handlers ask callers about their ethnicity.

Design This study analyses a corpus of real-life audio-recorded calls to a national cancer helpline in the UK, focusing on the way that call-handlers collect the ethnic monitoring data.

Setting A major national cancer helpline in the UK.

Participants A sample of 273 recorded calls were recorded, of which 267 were frontline calls in which call-handlers are expected to ask the ethnicity monitoring question.

Results Findings suggest that caller uncertainty about how to answer the question, resistance to answering and call-handler presumption can compromise the effectiveness of ethnic monitoring. It is likely to be improved by changing how the ethnicity monitoring question is asked. Changes include avoiding open question formats to ease caller uncertainty; offering callers a rationale (account) for the question to minimise resistance and confirming the accuracy of the ethnic category recorded.

Conclusions We recommend that telephone-based healthcare personnel avoid asking the ethnicity monitoring question in an ‘open’ format; instead, a question containing a (short) standardised list can assist callers in responding. A training tool has been developed that applies this and other findings, with a view to improving ethnic monitoring.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Fri, 17 Apr 2015, 14:26:49 EST by Katie Ekberg on behalf of School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences