Jaggi A1, Gilbert A1, Cairns M2, Dalton R1
1Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Therapies Department, Middlesex, United Kingdom, 2University of Hertfordshire, Department of Allied Health Professions and Midwifery, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

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.

Keywords: Research, Strategy, Culture

Funding acknowledgements: Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Charity
TSB Grant - Digital Health in a connected hospital competition

Topic: Research methodology & knowledge translation; Professional issues

Ethics approval required: No
Institution: Not Applicable
Ethics committee: Not Applicable
Reason not required: Unique development of a quality improvement program and strategy in clinical practice

All authors, affiliations and abstracts have been published as submitted.

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