Researchers Describe How to Improve Prosthetic Research

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Medical researchers in the Netherlands have introduced ideas for improving, or scaling up, research in upper-limb prosthetics. They defined scaling up as "deliberate efforts to increase the impact of health service innovations successfully tested in pilot or experimental projects so as to benefit more people and to foster policy and program development on a lasting basis."

They noted several reasons why upper-limb prosthetic research does not move beyond the lab, such as lack of research quality, disappointing results of new initiatives, lack of funding to further develop promising initiatives, and poor implementation or dissemination of results.

The study's authors reached the following conclusions:

·        Alternative study designs should be considered to move beyond the lab.

·        Innovations should be developed with the principles of evidence-based medicine and evidence-based practice in mind.

·        Patients should be involved in all research steps, and research on able-bodied people should only be performed if at least a few individuals with amputations are also included.

·        Because the researchers believe that more attention should be given to spreading of the results, they recommend implementation and dissemination plans be part of each research proposal.

·        Research teams should take more advantage of the feel-good content of the research products and use media more to disseminate results and recruit patients for research.

·        Collaboration between researchers should be encouraged to overcome small sample sizes and to collect necessary skills to execute all facets of a research project.

·        Data should become more visible and should be shared.

·        Conferences should not only be used for presentation of results but should be the start of new beginnings.

The open-access study, "TIPS for Scaling up Research in Upper Limb Prosthetics," was published in MDPI.