Dr Ruth Backman PhD, MRes, Bsc

Dr Ruth Backman

Institute of Applied Health Research
Research Fellow

Contact details

Institute of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
IOEM Building
Institute of Applied Health Research
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Ruth Backman is a Research Fellow in the Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham, with interests in health service delivery, research methodology, and a mixed methods approach. 


  • PhD in Medical Microbiology
  • MRes in Biomedical Sciences
  • BSc (Hons) in Pharmacology
  • PGCert in Academic Practice


Ruth has worked in both primary and secondary care settings and has used a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies to date.   Previously, she has developed a tailored intervention package for healthcare professionals to promote national guidelines, which was underpinned by the Theoretical Domains Framework before integrating behaviour change techniques. 

Ruth has been actively involved in running cluster randomised controlled trials, cohort studies, and observational studies, and also has experience conducting process evaluations for tailored interventions using a mixed methods approach.

Postgraduate supervision

Ruth is interested in supervising MSc students in the following areas:

  • Developing interventions using a theory based approach
  • Using a mixed methods approach to solve challenges within healthcare


Ruth is currently working on an EPSRC funded grant which is focused on building a new tool to help clinicians manage patients with multimorbidity.  Part of this work includes the Mixed Methods Multimorbidity Study (MiMMS) which comprises eliciting the barriers around managing multimorbid patients in primary care, secondary care, and community pharmacy using the Theoretical Domains Framework.  Ruth will also use Normalisation Process Theory to assess how guidelines and tools are currently implemented within these settings. 

Ruth is also conducting a mixed methods systematic review assessing reminders within clinical systems to identify features that maximise usefulness for clinicians with the aim of increasing patient safety.

Recent projects include: 

  • The evaluation of a tailored intervention to improve the management of suspected encephalitis: A cluster randomised controlled trial (ENCEPH UK Intervention RCT, part of an NIHR programme grant based at The University of Liverpool)
  • Targeted case finding for COPD in Primary Care: A randomised controlled trial (TargetCOPD, part of an NIHR programme grant)
  • Global Anticoagulant Registry in the FIELD (Garfield): A prospective, multicentre, international registry of patients newly diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. 


Backman, R ., Foy, R.,  Michael, BD.,  Defres, S.,  Kneen, R., Solomon, T.  (2015) The development of an intervention to promote adherence to national guidelines for suspected viral encephalitis.  Implementation Science, 10(37)  

Backman, R ., Foy, R.,  Diggle, P., Kneen, R., Defres, S., Michael, BD., Medina-Lara, A., Solomon, T.  (2015) The evaluation of a tailored intervention to improve the management of suspected viral encephalitis: protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial.  Implementation Science, 10(14)  

Defres, S., Mayer, J., Backman, R., Kneen, R.  (2015) What is the current experience and practice of UK trainee doctors regarding performing lumbar punctures in suspected central nervous system infections?  British Journal of Hospital Medicine (11) 658-662

Michael, BD., Jeacocke, P, Varatharaj, A, Backman, R., McGill, F., Kneen, R., Medina-Lara, A., Solomon, T.  (2013) Unselected brain imaging in suspected meningitis delays lumbar puncture, can prolong hospitalisation and may increase antibiotic costs - a pilot study.  Journal of the Neurological Sciences 333:Supp1-2

Backman R., Foy, R., Diggle, P., Kneen, R., Defres, S., Michael, BD., Solomon, T. (2016) A pragmatic cluster randomised trial of a tailored intervention to improve the initial management of suspected viral encephalitis.  In Proof

Backman R., Foy, R., Michael, BD., Defres, S., Kneen, R., Solomon, T. (2016) The evaluation of a tailored intervention to improve the management of suspected viral encephalitis: process evaluation of a cluster randomised controlled trial.  In Proof

Backman R., Bayliss, S., Moore, D., Litchfield, I. (2016) Clinical reminder alert fatigue in UK primary care: a systematic review protocol.  In Proof

Backman, R., Ferreira Filho, J. B., Litchfield, I.  Bordbar, B. (2016) New visualisation tool for drug interactions using natural language processing. In Proof