Your horse’s health records can help save lives. Oakham Veterinary Hospital Equine and the University of Nottingham are actively involved in clinical research which ensures we continually review the best options for caring for and treating our patients. We do this in a number of different ways, and your horse’s health record is important in helping us do this. Clinical research includes reviewing patient records to look at patterns of disease (e.g. to help predict which animals may be most at risk), evaluating different diagnostic tests (e.g. to determine which are most effective and how we can improve), and evaluating different treatments (e.g. to ensure outcomes from a new surgical method are better than previous techniques).
There are two main types of studies of clinical research studies:
Retrospective studies look at records of horses which have been seen previously. They are mainly used to provide information on the types of diseases / conditions we see, which horses are mainly affected, and to compare different diagnostic tests and treatments. We use retrospective studies both for internal audit (where we assess the types of cases we see and how they do, and compare to other published results or what has happened previously in our practice), and to generate external research publications (which share our experiences externally and help others). In these studies, we may use data from current patient records; all the information is anonymised so it cannot be traced back to an individual person or horse and you and your horse are not identified. The data is reviewed and analysed by either a member of staff or researcher from Oakham Veterinary Hospital Equine or the Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science. A law (Data Protection Act 1998) has been put in place to make sure that your data cannot be abused. Researchers face disciplinary action, or even prosecution, if they do not use your data responsibly. An ethics committee, assesses the risks and benefits of individual research studies before they are approved and can go ahead. If you do not wish your horse’s data to be used in these retrospective studies, then please contact Oakham Veterinary Hospital Equine and we will remove your data from these studies.
Prospective studies are studies which are set up to evaluate a new test or treatment – for these studies, owners will be asked in advance whether they wish to be involved, and give informed consent if they want to be involved (which means reading / being told the details of the study and deciding whether they want to participate or not). The same rules about data protection, researcher protocols and ethical approval apply to these studies, and you can ‘opt out’ of prospective studies at any point that you wish, if you change your mind. Your information is anonymised so you cannot be identified if the research is published.
Other types of studies include surveys and interviews – these studies may ask for more personal information from you, including your age, professional qualifications etc. All these research studies require informed consent, so you will be given information on the study and asked if you want to participate before getting involved. Once again, all these studies are subject to data protection, researcher protocols and ethical approval, and again are anonymised so you cannot be identified if the research is published.
Information about the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science research programmes are available at: https://nottingham.ac.uk/vet/research/index.aspx