The blog about a paper that started as a blog

Here at CCHSR we have been blogging and tweeting for a couple of years now and, though we feel that it’s a worthwhile venture, often putting your finger on direct tangible benefits is often hard. Sometimes someone will comment to you about a blog you have written, or perhaps get in touch because of a paper they picked up from Twitter. We hope that this is the tip of the impact iceberg, but whether or not our social media forays are really making a difference is something we often just don’t know. However, every now and again something comes along which is directly attributable to a blog that has been written or a tweet that has been tweeted. Our latest paper, published this weekend in BMJ Quality and Safety, falls just into the category.

Back in February I read something on the BBC news website about a plan to rank hospitals for avoidable deaths based on a national review of 2000 case notes. This seemed a crazy idea to me and so I wrote a blog on the subject (which you can find here: it’s all to do with small numbers and the Prussian cavalry). What happened next is that we tweeted about the blog, and so did some other people, and then, because of this, the editor of BMJ Quality and Safety came across my blog and asked me if I would consider writing a viewpoint based on the blog. So I did. You can find it in all its glory here (and for those who have already read the original blog there is some new stuff in there so well worth a read). This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. This paper that I wrote with my colleague Katie Saunders also started out as a blog. However, in that case it never made it onto our blog as someone suggested, after reading a draft, that it would make a good paper in its own right. So we did a bit more work and had it published the BGJP.

So is blogging about your work worthwhile? Almost certainly. Most of the time you hope it is having an impact and often have some sense that it is having an impact, but once in a while something happens which means that you know that it is having an impact.

The fully open access publication can be found here

Abel G, Lyratzopoulos G, Ranking hospitals on avoidable death rates derived from retrospective case record review: methodological observations and limitations, BMJ Qual Saf 2015, doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2015-004366

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  • The Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research (CCHSR) is a thriving collaboration between the University of Cambridge and RAND Europe. We aim to inform health policy and practice by conducting research and evaluation studies of organisation and delivery of healthcare, including safety, effectiveness, efficiency and patient experience.