Dr Ian Litchfield PhD

Institute of Applied Health Research
Research Fellow

Contact details

+44 (0)121 414 6006
+44 (0)121 414 6217
Institute of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Institute of Applied Health Research
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Ian Litchfield is a Research Fellow in the Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham, with a background in occupational medicine and interests in health service delivery. He uses qualitative and quantitative research methods in the evaluation of service delivery interventions in both primary and secondary care. He leads the research group, Service Redesign in Primary Care and Hospital Settings with a particular interest in process mapping and the development of care pathways. He uses collaborative improvement methodologies, with a variety of stakeholders to design, implement, and evaluate strategies for improved health care delivery. He is a member of the European Care Pathway Association and notable recent work involves the mapping of communication pathways in primary care, and the detection and resolution of conflict in multiple clinical pathways.


  • PhD in Occupational Medicine 2007
  • MSc in Environmental Monitoring 1993
  • BSc in Biological Sciences(hons) 1990


Acting Programme Lead MSc in Occupational Health

  • Lectures on research methods MSc in Occupational Health
  • Module lead Safety Technology Module MSc Safety, Health and the Environment
  • Lectures on evaluation methodologies MSc Safety, Health and the Environment
  • Dissertation supervisor (>25)

IOEM/Computer Science - Building on the close links with Computer Science a collaborative MSc Programme has begun. Ian is responsible for the first two projects

  • Developing a dashboard for laboratory reports 
  • Creation of a mapping tool for health care pathways

Postgraduate supervision

The use of process improvement methodologies to better equip receptionists for their clinical role in General Practice.

This is supported by an award by the Health Foundation Trust which will support a student for 4 years (with a view to completion of the PhD by year 3 and using year 4 to prepare a fellowship application). This will be advertised shortly


Recent projects include:

  • Impact of air pollution on sudden infant death syndrome - PI (The Lullaby Trust)
  • Environmental Nitric Oxide and Respiratory Syncytial Virus
  • Epidemics (Abbot Pharmaceutical, Sheffield Children’s Hospital)
  • Qualitative study of non-clinical motives in test ordering behaviour of GPs -PI (HTA, NIHR)
  • Impact of research participation on promoting positive health behaviours -PI (HTA, NIHR)
  • Study for the improvement of test result communication in Primary Care - PI (RfPB, NIHR)

The recently completed TRaCKED Study is one of three projects from across the School selected and supported by the College of Medical and Dental Sciences supported to deliver impact over the next three years. 

Ongoing projects:

Ian is PI on The National Register of RF Workers initiated by the HSE and now funded by industry, the Register allows the exploration of any health effects of long-term occupational exposure. The first such study is underway and is investigating mortality and incidence of cancer within the cohort.

Ian is part of the Birmingham arm in the study Development of the SPCR Patient Safety Toolkit for general practices - responsible for implementation and evaluation (NIHR)

He is part of the School Improvement Science team awarded a grant by the Health Foundation Trust for a PhD Fellowship to develop the work begun in TRaCKED and grow School expertise in Improvement Science. - For more detail please see postgraduate supervision

He is leading the Hydrate for Health project funded by West Midlands Academic Health Science Network that is exploring the adoption of assistive drinking devices in the secondary care environment

Ian is currently working with the Service Improvement Unit at University Hospital Birmingham Foundation Trust to evaluate a number of service and process enhancements to better manage patient flow and care integration. The MyDay@QEHB - Diarising the Inpatient Journey. Funded by the Health Foundation Trust – The project brings corporate and clinical services together with patients and puts them at the centre of their care management.



Litchfield IJ, Dockery DW, Ayres JG. (2010), Health effects of Air pollution: Acute and chronic  In: Ayres JG, Marrison RM, Nichols GL, Maynard RL (eds.)  Environmental Medicine. London: Hodder Education pp141-153

Birmingham and Lambeth Liver Evaluation Testing Strategies (BALLETS): a prospective cohort study. Lilford RJ, Bentham L, Girling A, Litchfield IJ, Lancashire R, Armstrong D, Jones R, Marteau T, Neuberger J, Gill P, Cramb R, Olliff S, Arnold D, Khan K, Armstrong MJ, Houlihan DD, Newsome PN, Chilton PJ, Moons K, Altman D. Health Technol Assess. 2013 Jul;17(28): i-xiv, 1-307 

Litchfield IJ, Lilford RJ, Bentham LM, Greenfield SM. A qualitative exploration of the motives behind the decision to order a liver function test in primary care. Qual Prim Care. 2014 Aug;22(4):201-10. 

Litchfield IJ National Register of Radiofrequency Workers: Exploring health effects of occupational radiofrequency radiation exposure J Environ Occup Sci. 2014; 3(4): 190-192 

Litchfield IJ, Bentham L, Lilford RJ, Greenfield S.  Test result communication in primary care: clinical and office staff perspectives. Fam Pract. 2014; Oct;31(5):592-7. 

Litchfield IJ, Bentham L, Lilford RJ, Greenfield S.  Patient perspectives on test result communication in primary care: a qualitative study Br J Gen Pract 2015;March;65(632)118 

Litchfield IJ, Bentham L, Hill A, Lilford RJ, Greenfield S. Routine failures in the process for blood testing and the communication of results to patients in primary care: a qualitative exploration of patient and provider perspectives. J Qual Saf 2015 [in press]

Litchfield IJ, Bentham L, Lilford RJ, Greenfield S. Test result communication in primary care – a survey of current practice. J Qual Saf 2015 [in press]