Meet Marcus Bateman, Upper Limb Consultant Physiotherapist and OPTimisE Study Lead

Marcus Bateman launched the OPTimisE study in September 2021 as a feasibility trial to test a new physiotherapy treatment protocol for patients suffering from tennis elbow.

The study is currently operating at three sites:

The study includes 50 volunteer patients; 25 of these patients are evaluated on the traditional NHS care path, while the other 25 patients are evaluated on the OPTimisE care path.

How and why did you become involved in the OPTimisE Study?

“During my previous work, I identified that there were shortcomings in the care of patients suffering from tennis elbow. Therefore, I put together a bid to get funding via a Doctoral Fellowship from the National Institute Health & Care Research (NIHR) and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Charitable Trust. My goal was to develop an effective and efficient physiotherapy treatment that would improve the care of people with tennis elbow. Having combined the research evidence with the knowledge of expert clinicians, patients and physiotherapy service managers, we developed the OPTimisE treatment protocol that we are now testing with volunteer patients in a pilot and feasibility trial.

I am thankful to also have the academic support from Professor Jonathan Hill and Dr Ben Saunders (both at Keele University), Professor Chris Littlewood (Edge Hill University), Professor Bill Vicenzino and Professor Nadine Foster (both at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia).”

Why did your team decide to collect data electronically for the OPTimisE Study?

“I knew I needed a system to assist in the collection, monitoring and analysis of questionnaire responses from patients for the OPTimisE Pilot and Feasibility Trial to be successful.

Once I had chosen the Amplitude pro one™ system, I offered all patients the option to receive either online questionnaires (using Amplitude) or paper questionnaires, which would need to be sent out and returned by post. Out of the 50 participants, 39 opted for online.

Overall, the data returns for paper questionnaires were only 50%, and there were also large time and cost implications, due to the cost of printing and posting multiple paper forms to patients, and there was a risk of forms not being delivered correctly.”

Why did you choose Amplitude as your service provider?

“Amplitude has the necessary data protection protocols required for research. They also have a track record of running surgical registries. By pure coincidence, an Orthopaedic Consultant colleague invited me to a talk at the Pulvertaft Hand Unit at the planning stage of OPTimisE, and it just so happened that Amplitude was presenting at this event. I knew I was looking for a maximum return on data, and when I discovered Amplitude, I could see that the system was ideal for what I needed.”

What are 3 greatest benefits you have gained from using Amplitude?

  1. “Bespoke questionnaire design
  2. Automated email and SMS reminders for non-responders
  3. Automated result collation”

Do you have any specific objectives that you want to achieve by using Amplitude?

“I required a questionnaire response rate of 70% to meet a pre-determined benchmark of feasibility to scale up OPTimisE to a national trial. This objective has been achieved.”

Do you have any specific future ambitions in relation to collecting outcomes?

“Once the OPTimisE study has been completed, and all data has been obtained and fully analysed, I plan to launch a second grant application in 2024 to obtain funding to launch a national OPTimisE study. This national trial could include several hundred patients, across multiple clinics or hospitals, and be conducted over several years in order to assess the long-term benefits of the OPTimisE treatment protocol.”

How has your overall experience been with Amplitude?

“Very good. The team were able to adapt their system to meet the requirements for the OPTimisE project, and feedback from our trial participants was positive. There were some points of feedback related to the format/branding of patient emails which the team are happy to address prior to a full-scale trial.

In addition, although the OPTimisE study only finalised until February 2023, there have already been some significant discoveries. For example, the data returns of each set-up are very different, with electronic returns exceeding paper form returns at the 6-week, 3-month and 6-month follow-up intervals.”

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