Methodological Innovations

Hand clasping a brain symbolIAHR has rapidly become a UK and international centre for methodology, primary and secondary test research. Important outputs include systematic reviews and methods for assessing the impact of tests on patients and designs for test accuracy studies. The group leads international activity to introduce test accuracy reviews into the Cochrane Library, provides research support for test reviews to NIHR-funded UK Cochrane Review groups and has hosted three international methodology symposia.

Aims

  • Using our experience and success in systematic reviews and methods for assessing the impact of tests on patients and designs for test accuracy studies.
  • Providing an internationally competitive contribution to health economics research through a coherent balance of methodological and applied research, informing policy and resource allocation locally.
  • Measuring patients’ views about the impact of disease and treatment and are reported directly by the patient and promoting the efficient integration of PROs in the NHS.
  • Research and teaching focusing on institutional, technological, ethical and cultural determinants of medical knowledge and health and social care practices.
  • To be a global leader in the use of routinely collected data to improve health outcomes for individuals and the population.

Biostatistics, Evidence Synthesis and Test Evaluation

BESaTE Group

Theme lead: Jon Deeks

The research of the BESaTE team covers: the broad field of biostatistics, including both application and development of methodology with expertise in cluster trials and stepped-wedge studies; the synthesis of evidence, including systematic reviews and meta-analyses; and, test evaluation, focussing on both the development of methodology to enable robust evaluation of tests and also delivering primary research to assess medical tests and biomarkers.

Description of the BESATE Research Group

In addition to being involved in many studies evaluating healthcare, the key research themes for group members in the area of Biostatistics are: cluster RCTs and stepped-wedge studies, meta-analysis (including multivariate and panoramic meta-analysis), multi-parameter evidence synthesis, simulation, prognostic modelling, and survival analysis.

The Evidence Synthesis team have extensive experience in the techniques of systematic reviews, meta-analysis, health technology assessments and evidence synthesis across a variety of clinical questions (e.g. effectiveness, diagnosis and prognosis). They have a successful track record of delivering a range of projects to inform local and national healthcare decision making.

Members of the Test Evaluation Research Group (TERG) are involved in developing methodology for test evaluation, diagnostic test accuracy, prognostic tests, monitoring tests, screening, systematic reviews and meta-analysis for tests. Members of the group are also involved in the planning, delivery and analysis of primary studies assessing the use of tests in healthcare. The Test Evaluation Research Group also organises methodological peer review and editorial approval for publication of Cochrane DTA protocols and reviews.

All teams are involved in teaching at undergraduate and post-graduate level and coordinate a number of modules.

Meet the BESATE team

Staff in BESATE

Health Economics Unit

Theme lead: Tracy Roberts

The Health Economics Unit seeks to provide an internationally competitive contribution to health economics research through a coherent balance of methodological and applied research, informing policy and resource allocation locally, nationally and internationally. 

 

Patient Reported Outcomes

Theme lead: Mel Calvert

Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) measure patients’ views about the impact of disease and treatment and are reported directly by the patient.

The Centre for Patient Reported Outcome Research (CPROR) promotes excellence in PROs Research and Education

CPROR aims are to promote the efficient integration of PROs in the NHS, by:

  • Building capacity for applied and methodological PROs research to evaluate PROs use in routine care and as part of ‘big-data’.

  • Supporting clinicians, trials units, ethics committees, funders, regulators and policy makers to ensure high quality, ethical, efficient PRO data collection.

  • Providing education, training and support for optimal use and integration of PROs in clinical trials and routine care.

  • Working in partnership with patients and the public, clinicians and policy makers to ensure PRO data collected in routine care and trials meets their needs.

  • Build on existing international collaborations with clinicians, funding bodies, regulatory agencies, methodologists and industry.

PROlearn is a freely accessible information resource for patients, clinicians and researchers wishing to find out more about PROs.

NIHR Research Design Service West Midlands (RDS)

The Research Design Service West Midlands provides expert advice to anyone in the region on all aspects of designing a research study.

Social Studies in Medicine

Theme lead: Jonathan Reinarz

Team members represent the fields of sociology, anthropology, ethics, history and qualitative methods.  Research and teaching focuses on institutional, technological, ethical and cultural determinants of medical knowledge and health and social care practices.  The Unit offers courses and programs at undergraduate and graduate levels (MA and PhD) which examine the social and qualitative side of medicine, health and society. SSiM organises seminars and workshops, that bridge disciplinary boundaries, and provide an affiliation for visiting scholars wishing to explore medicine’s social or historical developments. 

Health Informatics

Theme leads:

 Krish Nirantharakumar (Data Science) and Tom Marshall (Implementation Science)

Our vision is to be a global leader in the use of routinely collected data to improve health outcomes for individuals and the population. Our College of Medical and Dental Sciences at the University of Birmingham has a strong track record in research and education in health informatics. The Health Informatics team has access to several key healthcare data sources including:

  • GP data from The Health Improvement Network data (THIN)

  • National Hospital Episode Statistics

  • Local detailed hospital data from the Prescribing Information and Communication System (PICS, provided by University Hospital Birmingham)

  • Numerous surveillance data through Public Health England.

The Health Informatics Team has recently expanded to include expertise in implementation science, diagnostic test research, artificial intelligence and machine learning. This has created an opportunity to take a whole systems-based approach to using routinely collected data to improve health outcomes.

Find out more about our Health Informatics team