It was great to get the project started - on the auspicious day of 1st April(!). Although it is the beginning it has felt like quite a journey getting here. The project was commissioned by the NIHR HTA programme back in Spring 2013 when they advertised an outline of the question they wanted addressed and invited proposals from researchers. But the HTA will have started exploring it as a possible topic for commissioning research on well before then. If you are interested in how HTA prioritises topics for research you can find out more information by following the links on the HTA Programme website. Members of the public, health care professionals and policy makers can make suggestions to NIHR about any ideas they would like them to consider for funding. You can find details of how they identify research questions and access the on line suggestion form at http://www.nets.nihr.ac.uk/identifying-research.
The overall questions to be addressed by this research project are: what orthotic devices are currently in use in the NHS for knee instability for people with neuromuscular conditions, what are the costs involved and what further research is needed. An important aspect of our work is to find out what the most important issues are for patients. Our research project is intended as preparatory work to inform a different piece of research sometime in the future which will look at the clinical and cost-effectiveness of different types of orthotic management of the knee in people with neuromuscular disease.
We are starting with the systematic review of previous evidence. However we have also started planning the qualitative study of the views of orthotic users as we will need to apply for research ethics approval before we can start recruiting people to take part. We have also started planning exactly what we need to ask healthcare professionals delivering orthotic services and how we can make sure we get a good response rate to the survey. So please feel free to tell anyone relevant about this blog and our research project and help us build up a network.
Blogger: Catriona McDaid