Interview with Dr Jenna Breckenridge, co-founder of @AHP2mintalks, Researcher at the University of Dundee and AHP Research Lead for NHS Tayside
Tell us about @AHP2mintalks…
@AHP2mintalks is an online twitter community run by AHPs, for AHPs. Its purpose is to help allied health professionals share research knowledge with each other, and to help make research more accessible and useful for practice.
How does it work?
Contributors post a short 2-minute video of themselves summarising a piece of research they have read or been involved in. Most videos are shot on a smart phone; so no fancy technology required! The best talks provide a summary of the research evidence and then offer some critical reflections on (a) its strengths and weaknesses, and (b) its relevance and usefulness for practice.
Where did the idea come from?
In Spring 2019, I led a project funded by the Scottish Universities Insight Institute to develop novel ways of making research useful for practice. I brought together a diverse group of Allied Health Professionals, researchers and creative experts from art, design, technology, comics and creative writing and challenged them to co-design better ways of sharing research knowledge. @AHP2mintalks was one of the outputs from this project. You can read more about the project here, including the final report, a documentary, poetry collection and videos from international experts in health, design and evidence-informed practice: https://www.scottishinsight.ac.uk/Default.aspx?tabid=8389
Why is @AHP2mintalks needed?
Allied Health Professionals know that practice underpinned by good research evidence delivers high quality services, safe and efficient care, improved health and wellbeing outcomes, and better patient and service user satisfaction. Research shows too that practitioners feel more satisfied in their jobs when they know they are working in the most contemporary, evidence-informed ways.
And yet, we hear time and time again that most research evidence fails to make an impact in practice. Research is either implemented patchily or not at all, whilst health and social care organisations undergo frequent change despite limited available evidence.
A common approach to solving this problem is to ‘build capacity and capability’ amongst AHP practitioners. This works on the premise that if we give individual practitioners the skills and confidence to find, read and understand research, they will be more likely to implement evidence in practice.
However, these approaches often ignore the huge structural, organisational, environmental and social barriers that practitioners face when trying to apply evidence in practice. For example, practitioners may lack the time, resources, team culture and managerial support to engage with research. We also need to recognise that the way researchers share their work is not always helpful for practitioners. Journal articles are the primary means of communicating research findings; but these are difficult to find, time-consuming to read, and not necessarily written with practical application in mind.
For these reasons, we need to work harder at making research more accessible and useful for practitioners. Part of this involves creating communities of knowledge sharing. The time invested by one contributor to @AHP2mintalks, can save time for hundreds of AHPs by providing a concise and accessible summary of up-to-date evidence. Moreover, practitioners often say that blogs and webinars are easier to digest; and @AHP2mintalks endeavours to provide a place for AHPs to share research-based knowledge in ways that suit them.
Why do you think it has been so successful?
Since we launched the account in June 2019, we have gained over 800 followers internationally and the top videos have received thousands of views. Practitioners have told us that they find this a really engaging way to keep up to date with research evidence; in particular the videos introduce them to new research and the short 2 minute precis helps them decide whether or not to read the paper in full. For researchers, @AHP2mintalks is also a really good way to facilitate research impact and gives them a direct line to practitioners. Ultimately, all researchers want their work to be useful!
Finally, I also like that @AHP2mintalks models how we should be talking about research in practice. The talks are short, informal and completely practice oriented; they are a good example of how we should be having daily research-informed conversations in team meetings in practice.
How can I get involved?
Go on, do it! We’d love to have a video from you! Just post your video on twitter with the handle @ahp2mintalks. You can include any relevant hashtags and mention other twitter users who might be interested in watching and sharing your talk. It is also helpful to include the full weblink to the paper you summarise in your video. We welcome videos from anyone, at any time. Our only requirements are that your videos are under 2 minutes long and focus on research that is relevant to any or all of the Allied Health Professions. If you would like some informal support with developing your video, please feel free to contact me, @Jen_Breck or email@example.com.
Dr Jenna Breckenridge, Clinical Academic at Dundee University, AHP researcher, NHS Tayside and co-founder of @AHP2mintalks