The Research Agenda for ENT, Hearing and Balance Care: patients and professionals have decided on what needs to be researched
Everyone suffers from ear, nose and throat (ENT) conditions at some stage in their life; all young children have coughs and colds and may suffer from ear infections; when we get older we all lose some of our hearing and balance.
To ensure that patients benefit from the very best treatments in the field, it is important that research is conducted to improve our understanding of ENT conditions and how best to treat them. Doctors and researchers in ENT, Hearing and Balance have therefore worked closely with patients and families to develop an agenda that will guide research in the field for the next 10 years
Research priorities include improving the patient’s journey when suffering from ENT problems, such as allergies, and problems of the sinuses and voice. Patients felt it is important that there is research into self-management, in particular for those suffering from dizziness. There is a need to improve the benefit of hearing aids and develop and test new treatments for hearing loss as well as for loss of other senses such as balance and smell.
Patients and professionals agreed that future research in ENT, Hearing and Balance care needs to be patient centered. They have agreed to work together to ensure that future research addresses the issues that matter both to patients and those who care for them.
Setting the UK research agenda for ENT, Hearing and Balance Patients, public and professionals in partnership
Professor Anne GM Schilder, evidENT, Ear Institute, University College London
To continue to deliver the best care for patients with ENT, Hearing and Balance problems it is key that high value research is developed and delivered that informs us what treatments work best and how we best deliver our care. Recognising that competition for research resources is strong and that as professionals we need to build capacity and expertise to deliver that research, the professional organisations in ENT, Hearing and Balance, ENT-UK, BAA , BSA and BAAP, have taken the initiative to develop a strategic research agenda. They commissioned the evidENT team at UCL to conduct the research priority setting exercise. Research ideas were gathered through an online survey posted through UK based patient and professional groups and discussed in focus groups. A large number of research ideas were gathered from the survey and focus groups. Many of these were not traditional research questions, yet these were the issues that respondents felt were important. Therefore a framework analysis was used, allowing all those ideas to be incorporated into the research agenda. An Expert Forum was held to help put these results into the context of existing evidence and ongoing developments. This was followed by a Consensus Conference, at which the priorities for the research agenda for ENT, Hearing and Balance care were chosen. The agenda was successfully launched in December at an event well attended by a diverse community of patients, public and professionals, reflecting the widespread interest in this project.
From creating the research agenda, implementation now needs to follow. The professional organisations are committed to carry forward the partnerships built through this initiative and develop high value research and care for the benefit of patients and their families. Part of the strategy to deliver the agenda is mapping the current research activity in ENT, Hearing and Balance across the UK. This ‘map of research’ will be a valuable resource for the research community, connecting those seeking experts and collaborators. It will help the professional organisations in ENT, Hearing and Balance to identify the research areas in which capacity and capability need to grow. The document will be made available online. All researchers in ENT, Hearing and Balance are invited to submit their information by completing the online MomENTum Survey through the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6GTWM2S.