I hold a PhD in Medical Sciences and as a primary care sociologist my research particularly focuses on implementation science in primary care both for acute and chronic conditions.
My specific research aims are:
- to evaluate how evidence based treatment and management strategies are used or not used in everyday practice by patients and professionals in primary care and
- how this new evidence can be used to improve practice by tailoring interventions, evaluate and adapt them and implement them in practice.
Areas of application:
Medication use in primary care
One of my main areas of application focuses on improving prescribing behaviour of general practitioners (GPs) and behaviour change in patients, in particular to improve antibiotic use in infectious diseases in primary care as well as chronic use of benzodiazepines. The strategic importance of this research is to strive to actually implement evidence-based, effective interventions in daily practice that are appreciated by both practitioners and patients.
Continuity of care in primary care
A second area of application concerns the theme ‘continuity of care’ and how to organize care differently in a rapidly aging society with more complex care needs. In this evolving landscape I have used a stakeholder approach with focus on the role of patient, caregiver, doctor and other professionals in primary care and taking the adapting context into account. This allows the research to also by patient-centred, as well as the service being studied. I make use of sociological theories like normalization process theory to see how interventions can be normalized in routine practice.
All my areas of application involve drawing together a set of qualitative research methodologies and the so called "mixed methods" where I have extensive expertise and experience in application, but also in development of the methodology itself. I also put a lot of emphasis on setting up collaborations between different universities so that we can work and learn from each other in order to improve primary care.
I am the co-director of QUALUA (Qualitative Health Research University of Antwerp) which organizes a winter course in Dutch and an international summer university each year for researchers in the field of health care and particularly primary health care. I also teach in the Flames summer school (Flanders Training Network for Methodology and Statistics), the EBQ training (Epidemiology, Statistics and Qualitative research methods) and I am a teacher in the International Primary Care Research training Curriculum, Maastricht, The Netherlands.