Do you have questions about treatments used in your practice, which cannot be answered by existing research?
The James Lind Alliance (JLA)1 defines these ‘treatment uncertainties’ as conditions where there is no up-to-date, reliable and systematic reviews of research evidence addressing the uncertainty about the effects of the treatment, or no up-to-date systematic reviews of research evidence showing that uncertainty exists.
I can at least bring you some good news to end the year. Within dermatology, although multiple uncertainties remain, many are now being or have been addressed with priority setting partnerships (PSP)2 facilitated by the JLA. PSPs enable clinicians, patients and carers to work together to identify and prioritise uncertainties about the effects of treatments that could be answered by research.
Focusing on specific conditions or healthcare settings, the PSPs:
- bring patient, carer and clinician groups together on an equal footing.
- identify treatment uncertainties (questions about treatments which cannot be answered by existing research) which are important to all groups.
- work with all groups to jointly prioritise identified uncertainties.
- produce a final list (often a ‘Top 10’) of jointly-agreed research priorities, publicise them widely, and make sure that other uncertainties are recorded and available for researchers and research funders to access.
- provide a rare and valuable opportunity for patients and clinicians to shape the health research agenda.
So if you have any future questions please use the gift of the JLA PSPs to address these ‘treatment uncertainties’ to inform your clinical practice and future research.
PSPs are informing research in the following dermatology conditions:
Research: Layton A, Eady EA, Peat M, et al. Identifying acne treatment uncertainties via a James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership. BMJ Open. 2015;5:e008085
Research: Thomas KS, Brindle R, Chalmers JR, et al. Identifying priority areas for research into the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cellulitis (erysipelas): results of a James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership. Br J Dermatol. 2017;177:541-543
- Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa
Research: Davila-Seijo P, Hernandez-Martin A, Morcillo-Makow E, et al. Current dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa research does not match research needs perceived by patients and clinicians. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014;71:1008-1011
Davila-Seijo P, Hernandez-Martin A, Morcillo-Makow E, et al. Prioritization of therapy uncertainties in Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa: where should research direct to? An example of priority setting partnership in very rare disorders. Orphanet J Rare. 2013;8:61-69
Research: Batchelor JM, Ridd MJ, Clarke T, et al. The Eczema Priority Setting Partnership: a collaboration between patients, carers, clinicians and researchers to identify and prioritise important research questions for the treatment of eczema. Br J Dermatol. 2013;168:577-582
- Hair Loss
- Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Research: Ingram JR, Abbott R, Ghazavi M, et al. The Hidradenitis Suppurativa Priority Setting Partnership. Br J Dermatol. 2014;171:1422-1427
- Lichen Sclerosus
- Lyme Disease
Research: Majeed-Ariss R, McPhee M, Bundy C, et al. on behalf of the Psoriasis PSP Steering Group. Developing a Protocol to identify and prioritise research questions for psoriasis: A James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership. Br J Dermatol. 2017;epub ahead of print
Research: Eleftheriadou V, Whitton ME, Gawkrodger DJ, et al. Future research into the treatment of vitiligo: where should our priorities lie? Results of the vitiligo priority setting partnership. Br J Dermatol. 2011;164:530-536
Eleftheriadou V, Whitton M. Top Ten uncertainties for the treatment of Vitiligo, Dispatches (The magazine of the Vitiligo Society). Reproduced with kind permission of the Vitiligo Society. 2011
Lushey C. Setting priorities and reducing uncertainties for people with skin disease (SPRUSD), Dispatches (The magazine of the Vitiligo Society). Reproduced with kind permission of the Vitiligo Society. 2009
Whitton M. The James Lind Alliance: An important initiative in fostering good research practices in all spheres of medicin. Skin Care Campaign News. 2005;32:9
- James Lind Alliance: jla.nihr.ac.uk/about-the-james-lind-alliance/
- Priority Setting Partnerships: jla.nihr.ac.uk/about-the-james-lind-alliance/about-psps.htm
Sandra Lawton is nurse consultant dermatology at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust and past chair of the British Dermatological Nursing Group