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Improving Healthcare Through Clinical Research

On this online course, find out how medical treatments are discovered, tested and evaluated to improve healthcare for all.

43,990 enrolled on this course

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Everything we do in healthcare has to be discovered and thoroughly tested before it can be put into practice. In this course, you will explore clinical research – its challenges and its huge benefits to modern healthcare. You will work through case studies and examine how research contributes to the treatment of major diseases, such as cancer and dementia, examining the process of conducting research and the ethical questions raised. You will learn how members of a research team, academics and participants in clinical research all contribute to this process of discovery.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds Voiceover 1: We have all come to expect a lot of Medicine in the 21st century, but how can we be sure that all those treatments actually work and that they are safe and reliable, and how new treatments developed in the first place. Everything we do in health care, every tablet that is prescribed, every treatment that is given, every test that is performed, every aspect of the care that makes modern medicine so remarkable has first to be discovered and then thoroughly evaluated before it can be put into practice.

Skip to 0 minutes and 37 seconds Voiceover 2:This discovery and evaluation is done in a variety of ways, which collectively we call research. This free online course is all about that process of discovery and how it is used to improve healthcare. Together we’ll look in detail at why we do research and how we do it. We’ll focus on the important ethical questions raised by research, and we’ll take a look into the future. Over the four weeks of this course, we’ll meet a wide variety of people who play a key role in research. We’ll learn how they all make invaluable contributions to this process of discovery.

Skip to 1 minute and 10 seconds And by the end, we will have a much better understanding of not only the challenges of conducting research but also the enormous benefits that it can offer modern medicine.

Skip to 1 minute and 18 seconds Voiceover 1: This course is aimed at everyone who wants to know more about modern health and the role of research and discovery within it. It may be of special interest to senior pupils at school who are contemplating a career in healthcare, as well as those already working in these fields and who like to learn more about the research that is happening around them. Join this course to learn more about this fascinating subject.

What topics will you cover?

  • The fundamental principles of the scientific process, and their importance in ensuring that clinical research delivers accurate information and answers.
  • The origins of clinical trials, and how an understanding of how to conduct clinical research has developed over time.
  • How modern clinical trials are conducted, the importance of minimising bias, and the role of techniques such as randomisation and control, and placebos and blinding.
  • The impact of the digital revolution and big data on how clinical trials are conducted, and the opportunities and challenges these present.
  • The importance of ensuring that clinical research is ethical and the key principles that are essential to ensuring that clinical trials are set up and conducted in an ethically sound manner.
  • The role that respect has to play in clinical research and how we can ensure that research is carried out in a way that is respectful to participants.
  • How clinical research is regulated in the United Kingdom and internationally.
  • The importance of informed consent, the key concepts associated with gaining valid consent from research participants, and the process for gaining informed consent.
  • How the results of research are put into practice. How the results of research are reported and communicated to the wider world, and the importance of analysing critically media reporting of clinical research.
  • The ways in which clinical research is funded.
  • Future directions, opportunities and challenges for clinical research.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

This course has been accredited by the CPD Certification Service, which means it can be used to provide evidence of your continuing professional development.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Reflect on what modern healthcare would look like without the benefit of past clinical research, and evaluate the state of future healthcare should there be a lack of further research.
  • Summarise roles within a clinical research team and identify the role of the patient in the process.
  • Explain the importance of reducing the possibility of bias when designing a clinical trial, and identify techniques which are designed to help do this.
  • Evaluate the rules, regulations and best practices involved in clinical research, and explain the three aims all researchers must consider within their work.
  • Identify the meaning of ‘respect’ within the context of clinical research.
  • Summarise the role of research ethics committees, and explain how their work is conducted.
  • Explore the process of how research is put into practice, and reflect on historical and present day approaches.
  • Evaluate the impact of the media in published research, and interpret media headlines by discussing examples.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone who wants to know more about modern healthcare, and the role of clinical research and discovery within it.

It will be of special interest to: students at school or college; undergraduates or postgraduates who are contemplating a career in healthcare or the life sciences; and health and social care professionals and practitioners who want to find out more about the role of clinical research in improving healthcare.

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. By completing the course you will have achieved 16 hours of CPD time.

No previous knowledge is needed to take this course.

Who will you learn with?

I am a Consultant Ophthalmologist and Researcher. I am passionate about improving wellbeing, quality and quantity of life through clinical research. Lead Educator on this MOOC

I work for the NIHR Clinical Research Network in the Workforce, Learning and Organisational Development team. I create content for online learning (including this MOOC) and support social learning.

Scientist, Researcher, Writer, Educator.

Lead Educator for 'Improving Healthcare through Clinical Research.'

Author of STEM-inspired books for children and young adults.

Who developed the course?

University of Leeds

As one of the UK’s largest research-based universities, the University of Leeds is a member of the prestigious Russell Group and a centre of excellence for teaching.

National Institute for Health Research

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded through the Department of Health and Social Care to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research.

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