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Improving Healthcare Through Clinical Research

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

40,765 enrolled on this course

Improving Healthcare Through Clinical Research

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.

Our Lead Educator and Mentors will be on hand from May 24 to June 18 to support discussions and to answer your questions. If you join the course after June 18, moderators will still be checking the comments regularly to respond to your queries.

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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.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Why do we do research?

    • Welcome to the course

      Before you get started take some time to meet the educators who will support you through the course. There's also an opportunity to meet your fellow learners and plan your learning journey.

    • What is clinical research?

      Explore what clinical research is, get a better understanding of some of the key terminology and consider what the world would be like without clinical research.

    • Who benefits from clinical research?

      Modern healthcare is built on clinical research. This means that research, whether we are aware of it or not, affects us all. In this section of the course, explore the personal, medical and economic benefits of clinical research.

    • What makes good research?

      How do we ensure that clinical research delivers accurate information and answers? In this section of the course we explore some of the fundamental rules and tools of the scientific process.

    • An example of a current research trial

      Here we will look at an ongoing clinical study into the effects of chemotherapy in relation to patient age and frailness.

    • Summary

      Check your understanding of what we've covered this week, share your thoughts and questions so far and take a look at what we'll be exploring next week.

  • Week 2

    How do we do research?

    • Welcome to week two

      This week we look at how we do clinical research. We will explore the history of clinical trials, how trials are designed today, and the impact digital technology will have for the future of clinical research.

    • How has research developed?

      In this activity we will see that there are many different approaches to clinical research, and we'll explore some of the most important pieces of research that have made an impact on modern day healthcare and research.

    • Designing modern clinical trials

      How do we conduct research today? In this activity we will consider several of the techniques that play a critical role in modern clinical trials.

    • Where are we going?

      As technologies develop new kinds of research become possible. Here we explore the impact the digital revolution is having on how we conduct clinical trials, and the opportunities and challenges this presents.

    • An example of current research

      In this week's case study of clinical research in practice we look at the work of a team based at the University of Leeds, who are investigating how to reduce pre-term births.

    • Summary

      Check your understanding of what we've covered this week, share your thoughts and questions so far and take a look at what we'll be exploring next week.

  • Week 3

    Ethics and respect

    • Welcome to Week 3

      Welcome to the third week of the course. This week we will look at how we can be sure that our research is ethical. We will also look at the importance of respect in clinical research.

    • What does respect mean?

      In this activity we will discuss the subject of respect. What does it mean, and what are the consequences when it is missing?

    • Rules, regulations and the law

      In this activity we will look at the various rules and regulations we have to adhere to when conducting clinical research. We will also look at how clinical trials are assessed to ensure they are ethical.

    • What is informed consent?

      In this activity we will discuss the process and parameters of gaining informed consent from participants in clinical research.

    • An example of theory in practice

      In this activity we will look at clinical trials that include children and consider how they differ from research involving adults.

    • Summary

      Check your understanding of what we've covered this week, share your thoughts and questions so far and take a look at what we'll be exploring next week.

  • Week 4

    Research in practice

    • Welcome to Week 4

      Welcome to the final week of the course. This week we will look at how we evaluate, disseminate and value the results of clinical research. We also talk to a charity to see how they fit into the clinical research pathway.

    • How do we put research into practice?

      In this activity we will look at how we have put research into practice in the past, how we do so today and the challenges of implementing research findings into common medical practice.

    • What happens to the results of research?

      In this activity we will explore what happens to the results of clinical trials. We will look at how they are reported in the media and how we should interpret these reports.

    • How is this all funded?

      Good research costs money. In this activity we will look at how funds are allocated to clinical research in the UK, by whom and why.

    • An example of theory in practice

      This week we will learn about a current clinical trial which is investigating the various ways intravenous antibiotics are administered, to identify which approach is most effective.

    • Summary

      At the end of the course we look to the future of clinical research. You can also test your understanding of what we've covered, comment on your experience of the course, and learn about further opportunities to study.

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 learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. 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?

- MD, PhD
- Worked in clinical research for 30 years.
- Find out more about me and my work at www.allangaw.com and follow my research education and training blog at https://researchet.wordpress.com

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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