Sharing good practice in research management

The Royal College of Physicians has published Research for all: sharing good practice in research management. 

This document outlines the conditions needed to support research directors, managers, clinical and non-clinical staff and, ultimately, patients. It includes examples of good practice from NHS organisations around the country which aim to help build the knowledge base for all involved or wanting to be involved in research.

Getting research into policy in health – The GRIP-Health project

For many, the idea that health policy should be informed by evidence is an obvious goal. And indeed, the global health community has widely called for increased use or uptake of research and evidence, in health policymaking | LSE Health and Social Care Blog

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However, a vast majority of these calls have been made without explicit recognition of the decidedly political nature of policymaking, and without consideration of how this may affect the use of evidence to inform decisions.

Indeed, calls for ‘evidence-based’ policymaking have become ubiquitous in recent years, applied in social sectors such as health, education, crime prevention and many others. Many have seen these calls deriving from the successes of the ‘evidence based medicine’ movement – a movement that has helped to ensure that clinical practice is informed by rigorous assessments of evidence of effects of different treatment options.

The GRIP-Health research programme was funded by the European Research Council to bring an explicitly political lens to the study of evidence use for health policymaking in low, middle and high income countries. It draws particularly on policy studies theories to consider how the nature of the policy process, the politicised features of health decisions, and the existing institutional arrangements for policymaking in different countries all can work to shape which evidence is utilised, and how it is utilised to inform or shape health policy decisions.

Podcast: The Evidence Manifesto – it’s time to fix the E in EBM

A response to systematic bias, wastage, error, and fraud in research underpinning patient care | BMJ

Informed decision making requires clinicians and patients to identify and integrate relevant evidence. But with the questionable integrity of much of today’s evidence, the lack of research answering questions that matter to patients, and the lack of evidence to inform shared decision how are they expected to do this?

Too many research studies are poorly designed or executed. Too much of the resulting research evidence is withheld or disseminated piecemeal. As the volume of clinical research activity has grown the quality of evidence has often worsened, which has compromised the ability of all health professionals to provide affordable, effective, high value care for patients.”

Carl Heneghan, director for the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, and Fiona Godlee, editor in chief of The BMJ set out the 9 points of the Evidence manifesto, which tries to set a road map for strengthening the evidence base.

1) Expand the role of patients, health professionals and policy makers in research
2) Increase the systematic use of existing evidence
3) Make research evidence relevant, replicable and accessible to end users.
4) Reduce questionable research practices, bias, and conflicts of interests
5) Ensure drug and device regulation is robust, transparent and independent
6) Produce better usable clinical guidelines.
7) Support innovation, quality improvement, and safety through the better use of real world data.
8) Educate professionals, policy makers and the public in evidence-based healthcare to make informed choices.
9) Encourage the next generation of leaders in evidence-based medicine.

Fresh thinking about the evidence needed for a healthier UK

The Health Foundation is working with Dr Harry Rutter from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to develop a new model of evidence that will inform public health research, policy and practice. 

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As part of this work Dr Rutter and co-authors from the Health Foundation have published a new Viewpoint paper – The need for a complex systems model of evidence for public health – in The Lancet, which outlines the need for new approaches to designing and evaluating population-level interventions to improve health.

Key points

  • We are faced with many big health challenges in our society. Their complex nature is an ongoing problem for public health research and policy.
  • Such challenges often involve multiple factors operating over many decades in systems that adapt as changes occur. For example, the distribution of obesity in a population might be impacted by changes to food, employment, transport or economic systems.
  • The traditional linear model of research is not suited to tackling these challenges. This is because it focuses largely on changes in individuals, not the population as a whole, and because it tends to look at isolated interventions rather than the contexts in which they take place.
  • There is growing recognition that we need a new evidence model that looks at public health problems, and our potential responses, in terms of a complex systems approach.

Full reference: Rutter, H. et al.  The need for a complex systems model of evidence for public health The Lancet, 13 June 2017

Related: Building a new system for the generation and use of public health evidence

 

Knowledge transfer partnership programme announced

Knowledge Transfer Partnership announced at CSO Conference ‘Bringing Science and Innovation to the Heart of the NHS’

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NHS England is set to launch its first Knowledge Transfer Partnership Programme, a 12 month development programme, aimed at clinical leaders in healthcare science.  Successful applicants who secure a place will work with other leading healthcare scientists and build long-term collaborations across clinical, research and industry sectors, whilst identifying new approaches to measuring improved outcomes, ultimately for NHS patients.

Public involvement in health research

The National Institute for Health Research has launched a campaign urging patients and the public to get involved in health and social care research.

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The #twosides campaign highlights ways for people who aren’t medical or academic professionals to play a part in shaping research, for example through suggesting research questions, reviewing research applications,
joining a study team or being a study participant.

Additional link: NIHR press release

How Britain plans to lead the global science race to treat dementia

It has struck nearly a million people in the UK, yet even its cause is still unclear | The Guardian

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Early next year, Professor Bart De Strooper will sit down in an empty office in University College London and start to plan a project that aims to revolutionise our understanding and treatment of dementia. Dozens of leading researchers will be appointed to his £250m project which has been set up to create a national network of dementia research centres – with UCL at its hub.

The establishment of the UK Dementia Research Institute – which was announced last week – follows the pledge, made in 2012 by former prime minister David Cameron, to tackle the disease at a national level and comes as evidence points to its increasing impact on the nation. Earlier this year, it was disclosed that dementia is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales. At the same time, pharmaceutical companies have reported poor results from trials of drugs designed to slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.

Read the full news story here