Market Research for Online Communities in the NHS

A report to the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement

Miller L, Fairhurst P, Chubb C |   | NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement | Jul 2010

In 2010 the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement commissioned IES to undertake market research to support the development of a 'National Ideas Platform'.

The need for this study was prompted by, firstly recognition that networking and the sharing of knowledge are ways in which ideas and technologies diffuse through the NHS, alongside an acknowledgement that NHS staff often report frustration at the lack of knowledge sharing across the NHS. This is despite a range of networking opportunities available via the NHS Institute and through NHS groups.

The research had four components:

  • a literature review focused on the specific question around whether NHS staff engage in online networks/communities and if so where and when
  • stakeholder interviews with organisers of existing networks
  • an online survey
  • focus groups at ten NHS organisations.

The fieldwork was conducted between May and July 2010.

There were four broad learning outcomes from the work, providing information on:

  • what affects people's use of online resources and why some networks work
  • how do people go about sharing ideas at the moment
  • what technologies are people using at present and for what purposes
  • whether people want a new network.