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Long-term conditions: an expert partnership?

What we are doing:

This study explored how people share knowledge within healthcare environments. It was particularly interested in understanding how the concept of expertise influenced this. The expert-lay interface is exemplified by the healthcare professional and patient relationship. This study explored how knowledge was shared between these two groups and how successful it was.

Why we are doing it: 

Patient participation and shared decision making are important in healthcare currently. In addition, one of the solutions for the burden of long-term conditions on healthcare services is to encourage self-management of these conditions by patients. For patients to be able to participate in their care by self-managing their conditions at home and for them be involved effectively in decision making, they must have some degree of knowledge and understanding of their long-term conditions. This knowledge has to be shared between health professionals and patients.  It is crucial to understand how this occurs in order to ensure that knowledge is shared in the most effective way for patients and healthcare professionals in order for it to be utilised to the benefit of patients and improve their health outcomes.

What the benefits will be:

This study highlighted a number of barriers to knowledge sharing within the long-term condition arena. In particular, patients did not recognise their own expertise based on lived experience and therefore often deferred to the clinical expertise of healthcare professionals. Most healthcare interactions are structured to support this pre-eminence of clinical expertise over the knowledge and expertise which the patient may offer. Further work needs to be done with both patients and healthcare professionals to recognise and value the different types of expertise which each group offers within long-term condition management. In particular, work needs to be done to support and encourage patients to recognise their expertise built on experience, value that expertise and understand how to use it to contribute effectively to their own healthcare management.

Who we are working with:

  • Nottingham University Business School
  • Nottingham University Hospitals Trust
  • University of Leicester Hospitals NHS Trust


Dr Sarah Brand, Senior Research Nurse, Renal and Transplant Unit, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust


Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels