Brooks, Joanna, Bravington, Alison, Hardy, Beth, Melvin, Jane, Wilde, David and King, Nigel (2013) The Pictor Technique: A method for exploring collaborative working in health care. In: Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference, British Psychological Society, 11th - 13th September, 2013, Brighton. (Unpublished)

Collaborative working is a crucial part of contemporary health and social care, and effective collaboration between different professionals is essential to the provision of good quality patient care. However, given the complexity of many cases, researching the experiences of those involved – as professionals, patients or carers – can be challenging.

We introduce a novel visual technique (Pictor) for exploring experiences of collaborative working, using examples from a study exploring how care is provided to cancer patients and long-term condition patients across acute and community settings. We conducted 78 Pictor interviews with a wide variety of stakeholders including different nursing professionals, a wide range of professionals with whom they interact, patients themselves and their close others.

There were important differences in the ways in which different professional groups represented cases using Pictor, which can be understood in terms of role perceptions, aspects of service organisation and also wider societal perceptions of different types of illness. The use of Pictor facilitated description of and reflection on complex cases across our different participant types.

Pictor is a simple yet effective technique which is able to successfully address some of the significant methodological challenges presented in the exploration of collaborative working in health care settings. Health psychologists concerned with how people interact with health care professionals and institutions may find it a useful tool to explore the lived experience of care provision, particularly in complex cases involving different services and stakeholders.

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