26 July 2023
A systematic review led by RCSLT member Sophie Chalmers and supported by the RCSLT research team has carefully examined the value of allied health professional (AHP) research engagement on healthcare performance.
The review, which was published in BMC Health Services Research journal last week, suggests that AHP research engagement is likely to have a beneficial impact on the delivery of care, and more tentatively, on healthcare outcomes.
The findings indicated that AHP research engagement appears related to positive findings in improvements to processes of care, and identified the most common mechanisms which may link research engagement with these improvements.
This includes facilitating changes in staff skills, attitudes, and/or behaviour, which could for example lead to more rapid uptake of new treatments and greater likelihood of following clinical guidelines. It could also include organisational changes; when AHPs are supported to engage with research for example, this can make the organisation a more attractive place to work and provide incentives for staff retention.
The review demonstrates the value for speech and language therapists, including service leads and managers, to be research engaged in order to provide the best possible service. This can take many forms, from actively pursuing research activities, to reading research papers and participating in journal clubs for example, all of which can lead to service improvements.