Nick Fahy

DPhil in Evidence-Based Health Care


Why doctors don't follow guidelines: psychological factors affecting the diffusion of innovations in health service organisations

Research abstract

My research and practice are in the processes of knowledge into policy and practice in health, especially in European health systems. Reducing unwarranted variations in care and improving implementation of guidelines and evidence in practice has been identified as a policy priority. Yet despite extensive efforts to ensure that implementation of healthcare provision reflects best available evidence, gaps in implementation of good practice remain both significant and stubbornly persistent. My research aims to better understand why this is, using psychological theories to explore how clinicians think and act.


Nick completed his DPhil in 2018


Professor Trish Greenhalgh, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences

Dr Sara Shaw, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences


My professional background is over twenty years of experience in national and European health policy, mainly in the European Commission. This work brought home to me the gulf between what 'should' be happening and what actually does.  My long-term aim is to bring together my policymaking expertise together with this research in order to help redesign policies and mechanisms to better put innovation into practice in health.

I am also a visiting lecturer at the Management Centre Innsbruck, a member of the scientific advisory committee of the European Health Management Association and of the British Psychological Society. 


Greer, S.L., Fahy, N., Elliott, H.A., Wismar, M., Jarman, H., Palm, W. (2014). Everything you always wanted to know about European Union health policies but were afraid to ask.  European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, Brussels. 

Fahy, N. 2013, Political and ethical considerations, in L Cragg, M Davies & W Macdowall (eds), Health promotion theory, (second edition) Open University Press, Maidenhead, pp. 49-62.

Fahy, N. 2013, Commentary on international health systems performance information, in I Papanicolas & P Smith (eds), Health System Performance Comparison: An agenda for policy, information and research, Open University Press, Maidenhead, UK, pp. 313-34.

Research interests

Implementation science


Health policy and practice