The Lancaster Health Evaluation and Innovation Team (HEIT) is a strategic health partnership based in the North West of England comprising 10 organisations in the NW Coast region: two universities, three acute National Health Service (NHS) trusts, two specialist NHS trusts, two NHS clinical commissioning groups and a consumer network. The HEIT is led by Lancaster University where the core support team is based.
To raise awareness of Cochrane Reviews and evidence-based medicine; to identify and support potential new authors with systematic review methodology.
We formulated and delivered a strategic plan to grow research capability and to provide access to training in review methods via the HEIT research network, enabled by HEIT infrastructure. We identified potential review authors across the network, and the HEIT-based editor, Stephen Milan (Editor: Developmental Psychosocial and Learning Problems; Editor: Dementia and Cognitive Improvements), worked with managing and co-ordinating editors of Cochrane Groups to identify priority review topics suitable for author teams.
We have worked with 41 new Cochrane authors on over 40 reviews/updates, managed by nine Cochrane Groups. In addition, the network has successfully delivered over 20 protocols; additional protocols for registered titles are in progress. Limitations in NHS time resources require training to be locally delivered across the network, rather than bespoke training by editors on an as-needed basis. Understanding of research methods and evidence-based practice is enhanced where additional training can supplement available Cochrane methods support.
Successful delivery of these projects provided new authors with a better understanding of appropriate research methodology and the role of evidence in practice. In addition to developing systematic review research capability throughout the region, this initiative continues to enhance opportunities for promoting evidence-based patient care.
Patient or healthcare consumer involvement:
A number of the Cochrane Reviews developed as part of this initiative are reviewed by consumer representatives working with the Cochrane Groups (e.g. via the Consumer Network or the Group’s own panel of patient representatives). We aim to increase consumer involvement in the development of future reviews.