This study determined if research experience increased among allied health professionals (AHPs) at a regional tertiary hospital following a research capacity building initiative.
A cross sectional electronic survey was used to collect data from allied health professionals on their research experience, research support needs, enablers and barriers to research and their perceptions regarding benefits of research. A baseline survey was conducted in 2011 which was compared to a follow up survey in 2015. Comparison of variables between the two surveys used Chi squared tests.
The response rate for the 2011 survey was 43% (n=248) while the 2015 survey achieved a 37% response rate (n=234). There was a significant increase in allied health professionals research experience as well as need for research support between the 2011 and 2015 surveys in many (but not all) activities on the research continuum. Time availability was the greatest barrier and the perceived benefit of research was to improve clinical care.
This study demonstrates a significant increase in allied health professionals research experience over the four years of capacity building. However, the increase has not reached the level where it is recorded by traditional research outcome measures such as publication. The greatest barrier to allied health professionals conducting research is time. Therefore, investment in clinician-researcher career pathways may increase research capacity of allied health practitioners to increase publication output. The implication of this research is that allied professionals’ research profile is unlikely to increase without significant input of time or resources to allow them to conduct research.
We would like to acknowledge the Health Practitioner staff of Townsville Hospital and Health Service for participating in the survey, to Karen Phillips, Director of Allied Health for hosting the Research Officers (MF, MP) and to the THHS Study Education and Research Trust Account (SERTA) for funding the project.
Pain T, Petersen M, Fernando M. Building Allied Health Research Capacity at a Regional Australian Hospital: A Follow-up Study.. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2018 Jan 01;16(4), Article 8.