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  • Author or Editor: Gemma Teal x
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Prevalence and risk of malnutrition amongst older people admitted to hospital remains high and a holistic approach to nutritional management is needed. An ethnographic study across 5 hospitals identified several factors contributing to undernutrition in older people in hospital, underpinned by a lack of accountability in nutritional care. The current study adopted an iterative co-design process to develop a novel prototype for nutritional care in hospitals that employed a series of smart interfaces and built a chain of accountability into patient food provision.

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Informing policy and practice with up-to-date evidence on the social determinants of health is an ongoing challenge. One limitation of traditional approaches is the time-lag between identification of a policy or practice need and availability of results. The Right Here Right Now (RHRN) study piloted a near-real-time data-collection process to investigate whether this gap could be bridged.


A website was developed to facilitate the issue of questions, data capture and presentation of findings. Respondents were recruited using two distinct methods – a clustered random probability sample, and a quota sample from street stalls. Weekly four-part questions were issued by email, Short Messaging Service (SMS or text) or post. Quantitative data were descriptively summarised, qualitative data thematically analysed, and a summary report circulated two weeks after each question was issued. The pilot spanned 26 weeks.


It proved possible to recruit and retain a panel of respondents providing quantitative and qualitative data on a range of issues. The samples were subject to similar recruitment and response biases as more traditional data-collection approaches. Participants valued the potential to influence change, and stakeholders were enthusiastic about the findings generated, despite reservations about the lack of sample representativeness. Stakeholders acknowledged that decision-making processes are not flexible enough to respond to weekly evidence.


RHRN produced a process for collecting near-real-time data for policy-relevant topics, although obtaining and maintaining representative samples was problematic. Adaptations were identified to inform a more sustainable model of near-real-time data collection and dissemination in the future.

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