Research can be a slow yet steady process, often taking years to finalize into a publication at which point the research becomes publicly available. Then, it can take much longer, even decades, for research to be widely applied into clinical practice where patients can finally see its benefits.
There are good reasons for research to take a long time: as researchers, our responsibility is to capture enough data to be able to make credible conclusions, and research publications must ensure the legitimacy of our conclusions before they are ever made public.
But we also recognize that patients – including Veterans – should be able to benefit from evidence-based interventions that research can establish on a faster timeline.
At the Centre of Excellence, we conduct research in a variety of ways. One methodology that we are very excited about, called “Rapid Recommendations”, accelerates the process to turn research into clinical practice.
Rapid Recommendations involve synthesizing existing evidence on benefits and harms of an intervention and acquiring information on patients values and preferences (e.g. how much benefit is required to accept the risks of harm). The resulting information is presented to a guideline panel composed of clinical experts, methodologists, and patient partners who then makes clinical practice recommendations based on this evidence.
We summarize the findings into focused, easy-to-digest guidelines for clinical practice, which we then share with clinics and care teams in our national network. Clinicians can then incorporate these Rapid Recommendations and associated patient decision aids into their electronic medical records to prompt informed, evidence-based decision-making at the point of care.
Rapid Recommendations are particularly valuable for accelerating innovative, practice-changing information into clinical practice, and for conditions when there is a lot of variability in care. While standard research can take years, Rapid Recommendations can be completed within 90 days from start to finish. That time saved means countless clinicians and care teams who can be equipped to deliver the most current evidence-base care for chronic pain, and more Veterans whose well-being can be improved faster.
Our first Rapid Recommendation will be on chronic jaw pain, which Veterans have told us is a major issue that requires a greater understanding of which treatments are more likely to be effective so that care teams can make evidence-based decisions.
You can revisit our website over the coming months to learn more about this Rapid Recommendation, and our upcoming research projects.