Our pathway to a successful non-medical research strategy – a cultural shift five years on

Anju Jaggi, Anthony Gilbert, Mindy Cairns, Rachel Dalton

Research output: Contribution to conferencePresentationpeer-review

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Background: There is increasing evidence that research-active healthcare provider organisations provide better quality care, increased treatment options and improved clinical outcomes.
Purpose: Delivering excellent evidence based clinical care and a high academic profile was identified as a key strategic objective at a tertiary orthopaedic hospital in the UK. This paper outlines the development and early impact of a research strategy for allied health professionals employed at the organisation.
Methods: In 2013 the organisation appointed a Director of Therapies and a Consultant physiotherapist with protected time to develop a therapies research strategy. Focus groups were held across the directorate (140 staff including all therapists, orthotists, dieticians across all pay bands and grades including non-professional staff) as part of a 'listening exercise' to identify current levels of research activity, barriers and enablers to developing a research active department. Data were analysed thematically and findings used to inform a five year action plan to implement a research strategy, begin the necessary cultural shift and organisational development.
Results: Five key actions were identified: 1) Identifying research programmes/themes in clinical teams. 2) Research as a key pillar in team's objectives 3) Provide appropriate research training and education 4) Identify talent and research champions 5) Develop external collaborations with appropriate academic and commercial partners.
In 2014, through a commercial partnership, a grant was successful and a therapies research co-ordinator was appointed to support staff training around research methods and processes. In 2016 an internal 2 year grant received from the hospital charity supported this ongoing role along-side matched funding with a higher education institute to support a senior academic (Researcher in Residence) to provide extensive methodological support, writing skills and grant applications.
To date this has resulted in six peer reviewed articles and further funding e.g. digital health technology monies. Novice researchers have been supported resulting in a NIHR PhD fellowship and two NIHR internships making staff feel valued and motivated, act as role models and build capability. Clinical teams have identified research programs to allow greater focus and prioritisation maximising resources and time. There has been greater engagement with patients regarding acceptability and relevance of research ideas. 41% of registered projects with the research and development department were submitted to national/international scientific conferences compared to only 16% in 2014.
Conclusion(s): The key to success in implementation of a research strategy in a clinical setting requires clear strategic support and prioritisation, leadership, spotting the talent and investment in training. However dedicated resources and investment is required for delivery of projects to publications gained through external funding and or collaborations with academic institutions e.g. co-supervision of clinically based post graduate research projects.
Implications: Research active staff identify relevant projects which impact on patient care and support improvements in healthcare. Policy makers and healthcare leaders should identify and develop a clear research strategy when developing services to ensure high quality healthcare and improved patient outcomes.
Key-Words: Research, Strategy, Culture
Funding acknowledgements: Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Charity
TSB Grant - Digital Health in a connected hospital competition
Ethics approval: Did this work require ethics approval?:No
Institution: Not Applicable
Ethics Committee: Not Applicable
Please state the reasons why ethics approval was not required:
Unique development of a quality improvement program and strategy in clinical practice
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2019
EventWCPT World Congress of Physical Therapy 2019 - Geneva , Switzerland
Duration: 10 May 201913 May 2019


ConferenceWCPT World Congress of Physical Therapy 2019
Internet address


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