Research by the Academic Unit of Primary Care

Our research focuses on the implementation of evidence-based practice into routine health care.  We also actively contribute expertise in primary care research to other programmes within the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences and beyond.

Implementation Research

Clinical research continually produces new evidence that can benefit patients.  This evidence does not reliably find its way into everyday patient care.  In both policy and research, the selection of implementation strategies tend to be driven by combinations of habit, pragmatism and varied assumptions about how the world works rather than evidence.  We aim to inform policy by providing rigorous evidence on the cost-effectiveness of implementation strategies, and how and when they work best.

We have close working links with West Yorkshire Research and Development, our key partner in developing and supporting research and sharing findings. We work with our NHS and research partners on a programme of work addressing two themes:

Measuring and understanding the uptake of evidence-based practice

This work mainly involves hypothesis generating studies, qualitative and quantitative, to describe and explain the uptake of evidence-based practice:

  • Identifying health problems with high impacts (e.g. mortality, morbidity, costs) where there are significant gaps between evidence and practice;
  • Developing criteria and methods for measuring the implementation of evidence-based practice;
  • Identifying patterns of variations in implementation (e.g. areas of care where all or most practices perform poorly, subsets of practices or patients consistently associated with poorer performance);
  • Diagnosing the most important causes of inappropriate variations that are amenable to change.

Understanding prescribing of opioids

Role of informal networks in spreading knowledge between healthcare managers

Developing a knowledge exchange framework for research, practice and policy

Mobilising knowledge across health and social care boundaries in community settings: understanding and developing the role of knowledge brokering

Changing clinical and organisational practice  

This work mainly involves hypothesis testing studies to estimate the effects of implementation strategies and embedded process evaluations to explore causal mechanisms:

  • The design of implementation strategies targeting the most important determinants of practice based upon available systematic reviews, diagnostic analyses and the explicit mapping of intervention elements to key determinants of change;
  • Randomised and quasi-experimental studies to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions;
  • Theory-guided process evaluations, using qualitative and quantitative methods, embedded within intervention studies to explore and explain effects.


Evaluating a local primary care pay for performance scheme

Evaluating primary care screening for depression

Developing a Service User Feedback Framework for Improving Integrated Care (SUFFICE)

A randomised evaluation of an intervention to implement clinical guidance on the management of suspected viral encephalitis

The development and evaluation of enhanced audit and feedback interventions to increase the uptake of evidence-based transfusion practice (AFFINITIE Programme)

Getting Involved in Research

If you would like more information about research projects within our department please contact Professor Robbie Foy: