Dr James Hodgkinson PhD, MSc, BA (Hons)

Institute of Applied Health Research
Research Fellow

Contact details

Institute of Applied Health Research
Murray Learning Centre
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

James Hodgkinson is a Research Fellow in the Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham. James is both a medical sociologist with a particular interest in qualitative methodology, and an experienced systematic reviewer who has led and supported a range of reviews. He has however enjoyed using a full range of research methodologies in health services research, also including the design, analysis and management of randomised controlled trials and surveys.

His main research interest and recent experience is in aspects of blood pressure monitoring – the relative merits of home and ambulatory monitoring, the promise of telemonitoring, and the possibilities for self-monitoring in both the general hypertensive population and in specific groups, such as pregnant women and those with atrial fibrillation - but he is also interested in medication adherence, the potential of community pharmacies in cardiovascular screening, the use of performance management, and systematic review methodology.


  • Advanced Diploma in Management, Oxford Brookes University, 2006
  • PhD Sociology, University of Surrey, 2000
  • MSc with Distinction Social Research Methods, University of Surrey, 1995
  • BSc (Hons) Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge, 1993


James Hodgkinson graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge in 1993. He went on to gain a M.Sc. with Distinction in Social Research Methods, and subsequently completed a PhD at the University of Surrey, using an innovative ethnography of discourses approach.

From 1999 to 2002 whilst working at the Centre for Primary and Community Care (CRIPACC), University of Hertfordshire, James managed a randomised controlledtrial (COPE Trial) to evaluate the cost effectiveness of nurse-led systematic case management of older people in primary care, designing and analysing questionnaires, undertaking qualitative interviews, and observing casemanagement sessions.

Between 2002 and 2007, James was team leader of the Home Office West Midlands Regional Research Team, providing analytic support and promoting evidence-based approaches to aid regional decision-making and practice, developing an expertise in systematic reviews and performance management. He joined the Department of Primary Care Clinical Sciences, University of Birmingham in 2007, initially rapid searching, assessing and synthesizing the evidence base underpinning existing and new areas within the Quality and Outcomes Framework.

For the past seven years, James has worked as a Research Fellow specialising in research around blood pressure monitoring, typically either as a systematic reviewer or qualitative researcher, though also assessing the adequacy of monitoring equipment in a range of settings. Details of his current research activity and recently completed work are provided in the ‘Research’ section.


Teaching Programmes

  • BMedSci
  • MBChB Medicine in Society (MIS)
  • Masters in Public Health/Masters of Evidence Based Healthcare and Health Technologhy Assessment

Postgraduate supervision

James would be happy to supervise any projects which either:

  •  Use a systematic review methodology (any topic)
  •  Relate to blood pressure monitoring and/ or the diagnosis of hypertension (any methodology)


He would also be happy to discuss students’ own ideas in other areas especially – but not exclusively - projects which:


  • Consider the role of performance management (e.g. Quality and Outcomes Framework)
  • Relate to medicines management, patient beliefs about medicines, and/or the role of community pharmacists


Current research activity

James is Programme Manager on the NIHR Programme Grant, ‘Optimising the diagnosis and management of hypertension in primary care through self-monitoring of blood pressure’, for which he leads on a systematic review on the optimal schedule for self-monitoring and a calibration study of patients’ own blood pressure monitors, has undertaken focus groups with patients and health care professionals about self-monitoring protocols, and is supporting the TASMINH4 (Telemonitoring And/or Self-Monitoring In Hypertension) randomised controlled trial.

He is also a co-applicant on the successful ‘Optimising the monitoring and management of raised blood pressure during and after pregnancy’ NIHR Programme Grant, which began in 2016. Following a successful pilot study and systematic review, this programme will assess evidence on the potential for self-monitoring of blood pressure in pregnancy to improve the diagnosis of pre-eclampsia and gestational hypertension. James is currently involved in intervention development through patient and healthcare professional focus groups and interviews.

James is also Chief Investigator on an ongoing validation study of home blood pressure monitors in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Completed research work

Blood pressure monitoring

The main emphasis of his work recently has been on the monitoring of blood pressure:

  • Systematic review of the relative effectiveness and performance characteristics of each of (a) clinic measurements, (b) home blood pressure monitoring and (c) ambulatory monitoring, in the diagnosis of hypertension (this led to a change in NICE guidance)
  • Systematic review of the accuracy of ambulatory blood pressure monitors, including considering the clarity and rigour of validation protocols
  • Primary research assessing the calibration drift of new blood pressure measuring devices in a retail pharmacy environment, and factors affecting loss of accuracy
  • Systematic review defining the prognostic value of the morning blood pressure surge in clinical practice
  • Analysis using ambulatory blood pressure monitoring data to interpret inter-arm blood pressure differences

Atrial fibrillation

Other cardiovascular research has focused on atrial fibrillation:

  • Analyses of GPRD data on atrial fibrillation (AF), in particular on (i) predictors of AF, focusing on medication usage and pharmacoepidemiological factors,  (ii) treatment pathways for AF (especially the use, maintenance and discontinuation of anticoagulants in patients in different stroke risk categories), and (iii) adverse events and predictors of treatment discontinuation in patients with AF.
  • He also assessed the pros and cons of introducing a stroke risk stratification indicator into QOF for atrial fibrillation, including an assessment of the validity and sensitivity of CHADS2 across different populations and compared to other risk stratification schemes.

Systematic reviews

Other than those related to blood pressure monitoring, James has had a protocol writing, screening, data extraction and analysis role on several distinct systematic reviews:

  • Investigating the effects of different aspirin dosing frequencies and the timing of aspirin intake in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease
  • Evidence on interventions to improve sexual wellbeing and ameliorate sexual dysfunction in adults with cardiovascular disease
  • Effectiveness of service user-led self-help groups for bipolar disorder on health and psychosocial outcomes

  • Assessing the diagnostic and prognostic utility of tests currently available for the detection of aspirin resistance in patients with established cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease

James has also conducted an analysis comparing review processes and outcomes using Rapid Evidence Assessment and full Systematic Review approaches using his own work as an exemplar. 

Other activities

Competitive funding (as named applicant)

McManus R, Hodgkinson J, Tucker K, Hinton L, Chappell L, Mackillop L, Rivero-Arias O, Bell S, Yu L, Heneghan C, McCourt C, Sandall J, Khan K, Leeson P, Stevens R, Greenfield S. NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research. Optimising the monitoring and management of raised blood pressure during and after pregnancy £2,499,033 04/2016 – 03/2021

Fitzmaurice D, Dretzke J, Moore D, Lordkipanidzé M, Hodgkinson J, Bayliss S. NIHR National School for Primary Care Research (SPCR). Systematic review of aspirin dosing regimens £71,106 09/2014 - 08/2015

Hodgkinson J, Martin U, Beesley L, McManus R, Fitzmaurice D, Holder R, Thompson S. NIHR National School for Primary Care Research (SPCR). Validation of home blood pressure monitors in patients with atrial fibrillation. Project Number 230. £45,198 09/2014 – 06/2015

McManus R, Hodgkinson J,  Greenfield S, Heneghan C , Bankhead C, Stevens R, Tucker K, Saunders U, Locock L. NIHR National School for Primary Care Research (SPCR). Self-monitoring of blood pressure in pregnancy: developing the evidence base in primary care. Project Number 171. £236,560 10/2012 – 04/2014  

Sheppard J, Hodgkinson J, Martin U, Deeks J, McManus R. NIHR National School of Primary Care Research (SPCR). Defining the prognostic value of the morning blood pressure surge in clinical practice. Project Number 130. £34,339 12/2011 – 12/2012  

Peer review

James has acted as a peer reviewer for the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) program, for Public Health England, for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and for the NIHR National School of Primary Care Research (SPCR).

He has reviewed papers for many different research publications, e.g. Clinical Medicine, International Journal of Hypertension, BMJ Open, PLOS One, Cogent Medicine, Clinical Medicine Insights: Cardiology, Journal of Patient Preference and Adherence, Journal of Hypertension, Evidence and Policy, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Primary Health Care Research & Development, Vascular Health and Risk Management, Journal of General Practice, BMC Medical Research Methodology, and Journal of Human Hypertension.

Other positions of responsibility


  • General Medical Council External Research Associate


  • Deputy Chair for Impact and PPI Working Group, Institute of Applied Health Research
  • Institute of Applied Health Research representative on Library Committee


  • Managed the NIHR National School of Primary Care finances for the Department of Primary Care Clinical Sciences
  • Hypertension team representative at Research Team Group
Membership of Royal Statistical Society



Hodgkinson J, Koshiaris C, Martin U, Mant J, Heneghan C, Hobbs FR, McManus RJ. Accuracy of monitors used for blood pressure checks in English retail pharmacies: a cross-sectional observational study. Br J Gen Pract. 2016 May;66(646):e309-14

Grant S, Hodgkinson JA, Milner SL, Martin U, Tompson A, Hobbs FDR, MantJ, McManus RJ, Greenfield SM. Patients' and clinicians' views on the optimum schedules for self-monitoring of blood pressure. Br J Gen Pract (accepted for publication)

Hodgkinson JA, Tucker K, Martin U, Beesley L, McManus R. The Use of Ambulatory Blood Pressure Measurement (ABPM). British Journal of Hospital Medicine, 2 Nov 2015; 76, 11, p. 631-7

Bem, D., Dretzke, J., Stevens, S., Lordkipanidzé, M., Hodgkinson, J., Bayliss, S., Moore, D., Fitzmaurice, D. Investigating the effectiveness of different aspirin dosing regimens and the timing of aspirin intake in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease : protocol for a systematic review. Systematic Reviews. 4, 1, 8819 Jun 2015

Dretzke J, Riley RD, Lordkipanidzé M, Jowett S, O’Donnell J, Ensor J, Moloney E, Price M, Raichand S, Hodgkinson J, Bayliss S, Fitzmaurice D, Moore D. The prognostic utility of tests of platelet function for the detection of ‘aspirin resistance’ in patients with established cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease: a systematic review and economic evaluation. Health Technology Assessment 2015;19(37) DOI: 10.3310/hta19370

Fleming S, Atherton H, McCartney D, Hodgkinson J, Greenfield S, Hobbs FDR, Mant J, McManus R, Thompson M, Ward A, Heneghan C. Self-screening and non-physician screening for hypertension in communities: A systematic review.  American Journal of Hypertension 2015

Dretzke  J, Ensor  J, Bayliss  S, Hodgkinson  J, Lordkipanidzé  M, Riley RD, Fitzmaurice D, Moore  D. Methodological issues and recommendations for systematic reviews of prognostic studies: an example from cardiovascular disease. Systematic Reviews 2014, 3:140 DOI: 10.1186/2046-4053-3-140

Hodgkinson JA, Tucker KL, Crawford C, Greenfield SM, Heneghan C, Hinton L,Khan K, Locock L, MacKillop L, McCourt C, Selwood M, McManus RJ. Is self-monitoring of blood pressure in pregnancy safe and effective? BMJ 2014;349:g6616 (Link)

Sheppard JP, Hodgkinson J, Riley R, Martin U, McManus RJ. Prognostic significance of the morning blood pressure surge in clinical practice: a systematic review. American Journal of Hypertension, 2014 doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpu104

Wood S, Hodgkinson J, Martin U, McManus R. Blood pressure measurement - a practical guide for clinicians in primary care. BMJ Learning, 2014 (Link)

Martin U, Holder R, Hodgkinson J, McManus R. Authors' response. Br J Gen Pract. 2013 May;63(610):237-8.

Hodgkinson JA, Sheppard JP, Heneghan C, Martin U, Mant J, Roberts N, McManus RJ. Accuracy of ambulatory blood pressure monitors: a systematic review of validation studies. Journal of Hypertension. 2013 Feb;31(2):239-50. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0b013e32835b8d8b

Martin U, Holder R, Hodgkinson J, McManus R. Inter-arm blood pressure differences compared with ambulatory monitoring: a manifestation of the "White-Coat" effect? British Journal of General Practice, 2013; 63(607). doi: 10.3399/bjgp13X663055

Hodgkinson JA, Taylor CJ, Hobbs FD. Treatment pathways for patients with atrial fibrillation. International Journal of Clinical Practice Jan 2012;66(1):44-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2011.02818.x.

Home and clinic BP have limited accuracy compared with ambulatory BP for diagnosing hypertension. Annals of Internal Medicine December 20, 2011 155:JC6-10.

Hodgkinson J, Wood S, Martin U, McManus R. ABPM is best for diagnosing hypertension in primary care. The Practitioner 2011; 255 (1744):21-23; 20 Oct 2011

Lovibond K, Jowett S, Barton P, Caulfield M, Heneghan C, Hobbs FDR, Hodgkinson J, Mant J, Martin U, Williams B, Wonderling D, McManus RJ. Cost-effectiveness of options for the diagnosis of high blood pressure in primary care: a modelling study. The Lancet 2011; 378 (9798): 1219 - 1230, 1 October 2011 doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61184-7

Hodgkinson J, Mant J, Martin U, Guo B, Hobbs FDR, Deeks JJ, Heneghan C, Roberts N,McManus RJ.Relative effectiveness of clinic and home blood pressure monitoring compared to ambulatory blood pressure monitoring in the diagnosis of hypertension: a systematic review. British Medical Journal 2011; 342:d3621 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d3621

Hodgkinson J, Taylor C, Hobbs FDR. Predictors of incident Atrial Fibrillation and influence of medications: a retrospective case control study. British Journal of General Practice 2011; 61(587):e353-61. DOI:10.3399/bjgp11X578034

Taylor C, Hodgkinson J, Hobbs FDR. Rhythm control agents and adverse events in patients with atrial fibrillation. International Journal of Clinical Practice July 2010, 64, 8, 1069-1075

Hodgkinson J, Marshall S, Berry G, Newman M, Reynolds P, Burton E, Dickson K, Anderson J. Reducing gang related crime: A systematic review of ‘comprehensive’ interventions. Technical report. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. 2009. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. ISBN:978-0-9559087-9-8

Burton E, Butler G, Hodgkinson J, Marshall S. ‘Quick but Not Dirty: Rapid Evidence Assessments (REAs) as a Decision Support Tool in Social Policy’, in Hogard E, Ellis R & Warren J (eds) Community Safety: Innovation and Evaluation, Chester Academic Press, University of Chester, 2007, p.50-62.