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Research-active trusts have better patient outcomes, study shows

Press Release   •  Mar 16, 2015 14:31 GMT

A study, published in February, showed that patients cared for in research- active acute NHS Trusts have better outcomes.

The results of the research, published in an international, peer-reviewed journal, demonstrated a direct association between higher levels of research-activity and lower rates of patient mortality following emergency admissions.

It is widely assumed that research-active institutions provide better care and have better patient outcomes than those NHS Trusts that conduct less clinical research, but until now evidence for this has been limited.

The study, which also examined the size and structure of the acute NHS Trusts, found that “Research active Trusts had lower risk-adjusted mortality for acute admissions”. These results were still evident after factors such as the size of the Trust and staffing levels had been taken in to consideration.

Jonathan Gower, co-author and Theme Assistant Lead for the NIHR Clinical Research Network commented on the findings:

“For a long time the research community has heralded the notion that being cared for in a research-active environment has benefits for patients over and above that of being directly involved in a research study. But assessment of such a benefit is a complex task. Until recent years we simply did not have the data available to evidence the correlation. Data captured by the NIHR Clinical Research Network has provided us with the tools we needed to measure and prove that patients cared for in research- active acute NHS Trusts are more likely to experience better outcomes.”

The journal article entitled Research Activity and the Associations with Mortality analyses data from the 2010/11 financial year. It measures research activity by the amount of research support funding received from the National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network and numbers of patients participating in clinical research studies. It compares this to statistics for adult non-elective admissions provided by English Hospital Episode Statistics.

Read the full journal article online:
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0118253

The National Institute for Health Research - Clinical Research Network:  delivering research to make patients, and the NHS, better.

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