Developing Community Ontologies in User Driven Healthcare

Developing Community Ontologies in User Driven Healthcare

Jane Fitzpatrick (University of the West of England, UK) and Willie Ako (University of Bristol, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2770-3.ch032

Abstract

In developing equitable health systems, the World Health Organisation (2005) advocates strengthening the repository of social science research to inform policy decisions affecting health care. The players include the patient, family and community members and health care professionals. This requires a genuine engagement with community perspective on health issues. This chapter examines how health care professionals can engage in understanding user perspectives in order to develop effective health care policies and programs. This case study explores how involving an indigenous community enabled them to develop an effective health promotion and malaria prevention initiative in a remote rural community in PNG It draws on participant narratives to explore user perspectives and understandings of the health impact of a focused health promotion and malaria prevention initiative. It illustrates that poverty dominates their health experiences. The chapter illustrates how the development of a collaborative empowerment approach to research can have a significant impact on the strategies members of indigenous communities can develop in order to optimise their health experiences. It argues that in order to develop effective approaches to health care policy and design health needs to be appreciated in the context of lived experiences of those affected.
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Introduction

This chapter examines how health care professionals can work with a range of stakeholders in designing and delivering health care focused on service user needs. There are many theories about how individuals and communities can be encouraged to change their behaviours in order to improve their health status. However, many do not address the context and situated belief systems of the individual and the community that they live in. If the reference frames of the individual and or community are not addressed this may impact dramatically on the efficacy and effectiveness of health improvement and treatment initiatives. This chapter explores how health care professionals can engage in dialogue with stakeholders that respects the legitimacy of all perceptions and belief systems of health and illness. It examines how health care professionals can engage in understanding user perspectives in order to develop effective health care policies and programs. It argues that this type of approach will enable us to develop effective partnerships in designing and implementing user focused approaches to healthcare.

The chapter draws on the literature in developing partnership approaches to health service design and delivery. In order to explore the issues in context it reviews a case study that explores the experience of a small research project, conducted with members of the Kewapi language group in Papua New Guinea. It draws on participant narratives to explore user perspectives and understandings of the health impact of a focused health promotion and malaria prevention initiative.

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