When researchers are developing a study that involves a trial in order to compare treatment A to treatment B, they need to decide on what outcomes to measure. Often this is through a series of questionnaires with research participants and sometimes through tests like measuring weight, blood tests or saliva samples. Lots of research is carried out but few studies can compare results because they measure different outcomes. We are involved in research trying to change that. On 27th September 2017, the PARTNERS2 research team hosted a consensus meeting at the University of Birmingham to finalise a core outcome set for bipolar. A core outcome set is ‘a standardised set of outcomes that represent the minimum that should be measured and reported in all clinical trials for a specific topic area’. In this case, for all community-based bipolar research trials. We hope that this will make future trials easier to compare, so our knowledge about bipolar can increase, and as a result, improve services and the lives of people with bipolar. The PARTNERS2 research team have been working on the core outcome set for bipolar over the last 2-3 years.
- Firstly identifying a long list of potential outcomes to be included in the set through a review of existing measures and qualitative research with a range of stakeholders including service users, carers, health care professionals and researchers.
- Secondly, the long list was refined by the PARTNERS2 lived experience advisory panels and study staff.
- Thirdly, the outcomes were used to inform an online two-round Delphi survey - where stakeholders were invited to rate the importance of each outcome listed.