A preliminary report on the initiation of a clinical research program in an orthopaedic surgery department: roadmaps and tool kits
OBJECTIVE: A formal research program enhances resident training experience, productivity and hones critical appraisal skills. This initiative sought to investigate if an academic orthopaedic surgery department could implement a clinical research program, with the goal of increasing resident scholarly activity, a requirement of the Resident Review Committee, and achieve a parallel aim of enhancing the research focus of faculty. DESIGN: A multifaceted intervention including a needs assessment, appropriation of dedicated research staffing, development of tracking tools and policies, and a formalized research curriculum, followed by additional research time for residents was planned and implemented. The impact of all of these efforts is measured with specific outcomes, pre and post implementation. SETTING: The North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Surgery Department is a high volume clinical and education program with 17 fulltime core faculty and 18 residents at 2 tertiary hospitals. PARTICIPANTS: Residents were the focus of the intervention. The participation of faculty as principal investigators and sponsors was a key component to ensure success. RESULTS: The following outcomes were observed post intervention: increases in institutionally-required research training for faculty/residents, number of IRB protocols submitted, abstracts submitted to national meetings, percentage of time faculty report they spend on research activities, additional hours allocated to the new Department sponsored research curriculum and an additional research rotation for trainees. CONCLUSIONS: The official inception of a formalized program (2012) with a structured research process, invigorated faculty and trainees to formulate clinical research inquiries, generate hypotheses, create protocols and design and implement protocols. Structured tools, an experienced clinical research "champion" and commitment from departmental leadership were demonstrated as effective in transforming the focus of a clinical department into one with a nascent clinical research program, with demonstrable outcomes.