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My Research

Getting research to clinicians - bridging the evidence to practice gap

Mind the gap picture

Millions of pounds are spent each year on medical research in the UK alone. However, this research cannot influence the population’s health unless it is applied by health care professionals (Eccles et al, 2009). A consistent finding in the literature is that research evidence is frequently not implemented into clinical practice, leaving a large gap between the current evidence base and standards of clinical practice (Grol and Grimshaw, 2003). This frequent failure to translate research into clinical practice negatively impacts upon patient care, ultimately denying patients effective evidence based interventions (Ward et al, 2009, Graham et al, 2006). Therefore, research investigating how to actually implement evidence into clinical practice is essential to improve patient quality of care and avoid wasting valuable resources.

My PhD is concerned with the implementation of a Cognitive Behavioural group based intervention for the management of low back pain, known as the ‘BeST’ intervention. A cornerstone in the translation of the BeST intervention to clinical practice is the provision (access, availability and quality) of training for health care professionals, providing them with the knowledge base, skill set and self-efficacy to effectively deliver evidence-based treatments (Grol and Grimshaw, 2003). The current ‘gold standard’ training for health care professionals consists of face-to-face workshops, supplemented with manuals and clinical supervision (Beidas & Kendall, 2010). However, delivering training in this form has limited ‘reach’ and requires considerable amounts of time and resources, and therefore incurs high economic costs (Cook et al, 2008). The use of the Internet and computer based training packages has been growing in popularity over the past decade, offering many potential benefits over traditional face-to-face teaching (Cook et al, 2008; Sholomskas, 2005). However, there is still concern over the effectiveness of training health care professionals via the internet/computer in comparison to more traditional face-to-face methods. Thus, my PhD is focussed on the provision of training to teach health care professionals the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively deliver the BeST intervention.

The key phases of my PhD are detailed below:

Main Supervisor:

Dr David Davies


Professor Sallie Lamb