Research and Development

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    Using digital tools in clinical, health and social care research: a mixed-methods study of UK stakeholders.
    (BMJ Journals, 2024-04-03) Craddock, Carly; Evans, Mark
    Abstract Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated changes to clinical research methodology, with clinical studies being carried out via online/remote means. This mixed-methods study aimed to identify which digital tools are currently used across all stages of clinical research by stakeholders in clinical, health and social care research and investigate their experience using digital tools. Design: Two online surveys followed by semistructured interviews were conducted. Interviews were audiorecorded, transcribed and analysed thematically. Setting, participants: To explore the digital tools used since the pandemic, survey participants (researchers and related staff (n=41), research and development staff (n=25)), needed to have worked on clinical, health or social care research studies over the past 2 years (2020-2022) in an employing organisation based in the West Midlands region of England (due to funding from a regional clinical research network (CRN)). Survey participants had the opportunity to participate in an online qualitative interview to explore their experiences of digital tools in greater depth (n=8). Results: Six themes were identified in the qualitative interviews: 'definition of a digital tool in clinical research'; 'impact of the COVID-19 pandemic'; 'perceived benefits/drawbacks of digital tools'; 'selection of a digital tool'; 'barriers and overcoming barriers' and 'future digital tool use'. The context of each theme is discussed, based on the interview results. Conclusions: Findings demonstrate how digital tools are becoming embedded in clinical research, as well as the breadth of tools used across different research stages. The majority of participants viewed the tools positively, noting their ability to enhance research efficiency. Several considerations were highlighted; concerns about digital exclusion; need for collaboration with digital expertise/clinical staff, research on tool effectiveness and recommendations to aid future tool selection. There is a need for the development of resources to help optimise the selection and use of appropriate digital tools for clinical research staff and participants.
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    Update on the research ABC project (AHPs Building Capacity Across the Black Country).
    (Institute of Health & Social Care Management., 2024-02-08) Aries, Alison
    The Research ABC Project, led by Dr Ali Aries, Allied Health Professional (AHP) Research Lead at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) is an eight-month long project (August 2023–March 2024) funded by a Clinical Research Network West Midlands (CRN WM) Improvement and Innovation grant. The aims of the project are to enable the Black Country Integrated Care System (ICS) to address the four domains of Health Education England’s Allied Health Professionals Research and Innovation Strategy for England: capacity, capability, context and culture (Allied Health Professions’ Research and Innovation Strategy for England | Health Education England (hee.nhs.uk) and to develop a local plan and infrastructure to embed the strategy within the Black Country.
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    The importance and benefits of patient and public involvement and engagement.
    (Institute of Health & Social Care Management., 2023-03-08) Aries, Alison
    Clearly, there are mutual benefits for all involved. PPIE is recognised in Health Education England’s first Research and Innovation Strategy for Allied Health Professions (AHPs), which reflects the future direction for AHPs in delivering quality research to meet the future health demands of the population. The strategy emphasises the importance of excellence in evidence-based Allied Health practice, drawing upon expertise from the public voice.
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    Driving research opportunities for allied health professionals (AHPs).
    (Institute of Health & Social Care Management., 2023-10-23) Aries, Alison; Leslie, Rosylyn; Wallace, Louise
    An innovative project in the Black Country (Research ABC) will assess current research capability and then train and support Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) to enhance their knowledge, awareness and confidence in research.
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    Research ABC: evaluation of the team's perspectives.
    (The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust., 2024-04-12) Aries, Alison