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Evidence-based Medicine COllaboratioN NEtwork for guideline development, teaChing and disseminaTion

Final Report Summary - EBM CONNECT (Evidence-based Medicine COllaboratioN NEtwork for guideline development, teaChing and disseminaTion)

EBM CONNECT aimed to harness the combined research expertise of several centres in evidence-based medicine or EBM. It focused on the development of state-of-the-art methodology for systematic reviews and practice guidelines in maternal health. These were to be employed for improving research skills throughout the European Union and the developing world and for promoting effective healthcare through research based practice and policy. Not only were the centres benefit from staff exchange to develop their own research skills, this project aimed to advance the frontiers in research synthesis. It aimed to create the ability to conduct multinational projects and establish an electronic platform for research communication and collaboration. By establishing a worldwide agenda and a critical mass through the exchange, it aimed to generate momentum that will allow development to continue thereafter. This is vital with reference to improving maternal health, as this is an area where disparity exists not only worldwide but also between EU member states.

Scientific Objectives:
1. To standardise research methodology to produce systematic reviews and guidelines of sound scientific quality
2. To advance methodology in the following areas:
a. Capturing non-English evidence
b. Appraisal of evidence
c. Statistical methods
d. Consensus development
3. To establish a seminar series for dissemination and exchange with researchers worldwide

Work performed
Network activities have been held annually (work package 1), starting with the inaugural meeting in October 2010 where partners have met to discuss projects and plan exchanges. Work package 2 has been successfully completed by all partner institutions participating in systematic reviews and guidelines. Advanced statistical interpretation has taken place with workshops and secondments between Spain and Argentina. Improvements in capturing Spanish literature have occurred by holding workshops in Argentina for delegates from other South American countries (work package 4). Work package number 5 has been achieved with Chinese researchers collaborating on systematic reviews and participating in exchanges to QMUL, AMC and BHAM to allow the improvement of capturing literature in Chinese and several peer-review publications. The dissemination of information has been achieved through peer-review publications, workshops and international conferences (work packages 6 and 7).

There have been 15 peer review publications, 1 international presentation and 20 evidence based medicine (EBM) workshops involving all 7 partner institutions. 52.64 secondment months were undertaken by all partner institutions.

All project work package objectives have been achieved and all milestones were reached at the appropriate time periods.

In order to increase the number of secondments, QMUL, CREP and AMC identified early stage researchers to undertake exchanges, which gave them opportunities to experience clinical practice in partner countries and engage in research projects, participate in workshops and manuscript writing which has resulted in peer-review publications for many of them.

CREP has been the most productive institution with bilateral exchanges and reaching target secondments, despite the financial constraints of the project budget.

AMC and SIPPR have also been extremely productive with bilateral exchanges and many peer-review publications.

QMUL participated in bilateral exchanges, hosted several workshops and co-ordinated the project.

RYC and BHAM acknowledged a lack of eligible staff to participate in exchanges.

The limited funds allocated per secondment was a limitation of the project, but outside the control of the consortium. Despite this, all institutions were enthusiastic and participated in hosting the researchers.

The EBM Connect project has successfully improved the understanding of evidence-based medicine in women’s health, allowing collaborations with key policy-making groups nationally and globally, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. This has enabled the development of networks and the creation of future collaborative opportunities both locally and internationally in global women’s health.

Key Contact information:

Professor Khalid Khan
Women's Health Research Unit
Centre for Primary Care and Public Health
Blizard Institute
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Yvonne Carter Building
58 Turner Street
London E1 2AB