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Helen Richmond



  • I started my full time PhD in Health Sciences under the supervision of Professor Sallie Lamb and Dr David Davies in January 2011.
  • My thesis is due to be submitted in June 2014.
  • I am funded by the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority on the competitive 'Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Care Professionals Research Training Fellowship Award' (grant income: £112,669.44).
  • I was awarded a Distinction in the MSc "Research Methods in Health Sciences" from the University of Warwick; funded by the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority competitive buy out award (Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Care Professionals Research Training Support Award. Grant income: £34,195).

  • I achieved a First class BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy degree from Coventry University in 2007.

My PhD


The overarching aim of my PhD was to explore the implementation of a Cognitive Behavioural group based intervention for the management of Low back pain (BeST). The provision of training presents a challenge for dissemination and is a key part of the implementation process. Online training has the potential to enable greater access to this training at reduced costs. Therefore, thesis aimed to establish whether an online training implementation strategy was a feasible, effective and acceptable method of training physiotherapists in the skills required to deliver the BeST intervention.


  • To systematically review the evidence on the effectiveness of online learning among health care professionals.
  • To develop and refine an online training programme for the provision of training in the BeST intervention.
  • To covduct a mixed methods evaluation of this online training programme consisting of:
    • Semi-structured qualitative interviews to understand health care professionals experiences of being of using the online training programme.
    • A pragmatic randomised controlled trial (RCT) evaluating the effectivenss of the online implementation startegy compared to a traditional face-to-face implementation strategy.
  • To synthesise the quantitative and qualitative results at the discussion stage of this thesis.
  • To expand the literature in the field of online learning for the training of complex clinical interventions and to advance the field of implementation science.

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 patient care. Reasons behind this research to practice gap are not well understood, with researchers in the field ultimately concluding that the transfer of research into clinical practice consists of wide-ranging, complex and multifaceted processes.

An essential cog in the process of implementing evidence into 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. The current gold standard for training health care professionals is face-to-face training, which is resource dependant and costly. Internet based training has been growing in popularity over the past decade, offering many potential benefits over traditional face-to-face teaching.

Output from this PhD will:
• Provide insight into whether this online training strategy is a feasible and acceptable method of training physiotherapists in the complex intervention, BeST.
• Bring this intervention (BeST) for LBP a step closer to being implemented in clinical practice, providing a solid basis from which future implementation strategies can be built.
• Train 35 clinicians in the evidence based 'BeST' intervention for LBP, thereby improving care for the relevant patient population.

Additionally, the online training resource created as part of this PhD project will provide a sound platform for the development of subsequent training resources, providing an interesting avenue for researchers to disseminate their research to health care practitioners.

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Helen Richmond