Health Research and the Importance of Context

Health Research and the Importance of Context

There is a lot of waste in health research: one estimate suggests that 85% of the resources put into health research are wasted - The Lancet

Randomised trials play an important role in evidence-based health care systems such as the NHS but they too suffer from inefficiency.  One reason for this is the failure to describe the context in which the trial is done together with the potential impact contextual factors may have had on the result seen in the trial.  This means it can be very hard to make judgements as to whether trial result can be transferred beyond the setting in which the trial was done, often preventing the use of what may be an effective intervention.

Prof Shaun Treweek from HSRU, together with Aileen Grant and Mary Wells from the University of Stirling, have published an article in The Conversation highlighting this problem - The Conversation  They argue that much more attention, and resources, need to be focused on context if we are to gain the maximum benefit from trials.

Prof Treweek’s interest context comes from his interest in improving trial efficiency, especially through the Trial Forge initiative http://www.trialforge.org

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