Physiotherapy Practice Based Research Network

What is the problem?

Physiotherapists are vital primary contact clinicians who are ideally placed to provide evidence-based, high value care for a range of health issues. However, much of physiotherapy practice remains low value or uninformed by evidence, and there is an ongoing gap between what is recommended by high quality evidence and what happens in clinical practice.

While much focus has been on the failure of clinicians to implement evidence into practice, the so-called research-practice gaps extend beyond what clinicians do. Poor quality research is also at fault. Many research studies do not provide sufficient information for use in practice, or do not answer practice relevant questions.

Co-designed research can better address the evidence-practice divide. Co-design means end users and researchers work collaboratively to design, conduct and implement research to address clinical problems.

About the research translation project

The project seeks to establish a network across multiple sectors of physiotherapy practice to enable clinicians to become ‘research active’ through research co-design. Through the network, clinicians will be supported to set meaningful research priorities, be actively involved in co-designing and conducting research to answer prioritised clinical research questions generated by the network. The network will enable efficient knowledge generation and translation in a true collaborative process between clinicians and researchers.

Initial aims of the project include:

    1. To understand the feasibility and potential priorities of a research network including areas of need for clinician capacity building to engage in research;
    2. To co-create strategies to address the research-practice gaps that the network identifies;
    3. To develop a network which is viable so that a business case for future investment, scale and ongoing work can be made.

What will be the impact?

If successful, the Physiotherapy Network will increase the leadership and participation of physiotherapists in high quality co-designed research in regional and rural areas, as well as public and private sectors of the Hunter New England Local Health District. It is anticipated that this high quality co-designed research will bring improvements to healthcare services, which in turn will deliver better health outcomes for individuals and their communities.

For more information, please contact Connor Gleadhill – Connor.Gleadhill@health.nsw.gov.au