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M. E. Gordon, C. Sarli, E. K. Dubinsky, E. Long, C. LaRue, M. A. Kass, Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study Group; Quantitating the Impact of Clinical and Basic Science Research. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):2469.
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To quantitate the impact of research on generation of new knowledge and change in clinical practice. Governments world-wide are demanding quantifiable outcome measures of research impact.
We tabulated research impact using 3 criteria: (1) intellectual impact by citation counts; (2) knowledge transfer by the number of studies in new or ancillary areas; and (3) clinical impact by the adoption of findings in clinical/practice guidelines, consensus development, continuing education modules, creation of codes, insurance coverage statements, and measurement tools. As a test case, we evaluated the impact of our own clinical trial, the Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS) which published papers in 2002 that reported the effectiveness of topical hypotensive medication in reducing the risk of glaucoma and identified central corneal thickness as a predictive factor for glaucoma.
(1) Intellectual Impact: The OHTS outcome and prediction papers were in the top 10% of cited papers published in 2002 from 25 medical and biomedical specialities. (2) New Knowledge: Five ancillary OHTS studies have been funded including research in economic analyses, genetics and ocular biomechanics. (3) Clinical Practice: Synthesis of OHTS results into clinical practice was demonstrated by the establishment of CPT I code for pachymetry in 2004; recommendation for treatment of ocular hypertension in practice guidelines, consensus conferences, curriculum materials and insurance coverage statements; development of new risk calculators for glaucoma.
Systematic tabulation permits documentation of the value of clinical trials like OHTS. Basic science and clinical researchers can document impact of their research for progress reports, grant applications and promotion dossiers. We have developed an interactive website (http://becker.wustl.edu/impact/assessment/index.html) for this purpose and invite colleagues to offer suggestions to refine methods to document the impact of individual projects.
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