Thursday, 1 May 2014

What questions about evidence and research might help those who commission services?

These days I find that as I go to meetings or take part in telephone calls that I get asked questions or to give my opinion on certain issues. I am using these opportunities to put pen to paper, help clarify my thoughts and make statements that lead to improving research.

Today, I was asked what I would say and ask Area Commissioning Teams and Clinical Commissioning Groups that might make a significant difference to achieving the best evidenced based care, treatment and services in health and social care. So, here is my initial list...

Questions about evidence and research to help those who commission services.

1. How are you working with your Local Clinical Research Network to find out what studies and trials are available for your patients? 
Notes: There will be opportunities to engage and join the Partnership Group which brings local bodies together. You could also ask them what they are doing to engage and involve you?

2. What contact have you had with the Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) who are tasked with looking for evidence that will make a difference to NHS care and treatment?

Note: You might like to ask how the CLAHRC and the Academic Heath Science Network (AHSN) is working with patient groups and local communities to ensure that patients experiences are helping prioritise issues that need researched? You could ask your Clinical Senate how they are helping to raise awareness and promoting research across the NHS in your area?

3. What are you doing to engage and involve your local GP Patient Partnership Groups in helping address evidence based care? 

Note: You could ask some of your research active clinicians to write articles for the National Association for Patient Participation (NAPP). 

4. How many of your General Practices, Clinics and Care Homes are active in getting people to participate in clinical research and other well designed studies?

Note: There is a growing correlation between research active practice and better health outcomes. You might help bring together people interested in best evidenced based care, including patients and carers, to discuss how to raise awareness and improve access to trials and studies.

5. How could an informed and knowledgeable patient community help you achieve the changes you require to help evidenced based commissioning of services become a reality?
Note: You could use some of these activities to help people understand commissioning. Building Research Partnerships provides an introduction to research - The Critical Skills Appraisal Programme (CASP) develops their ability to contribute.

6. How could patient communities help you inform the public about research opportunities?
What essential skill do you think people might need to help you?
Note: You could get involved with the "Ok to Ask" campaign which is raising the profile of research as an integral part of the patient pathway.

And, almost finally...

7. How does evidence, based on high quality research, help inform and shape your commissioning decisions?

8. How many of your commissioning decisions have been based on evidence that has been through systematic review?

So, what questions would you ask and what advice would you offer?  

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