Shoulder pain is the third most common reason for musculoskeletal GP consultations in the UK; 50% of shoulder pain sufferers are diagnosed with sub-acromial impingement syndrome (SAIS), the prevalence of which increases with age. An evidence based exercise programme was developed by this research group at Ulster University using a robust mixed methodology approach including a meta-review and meta-analysis, a qualitative focus group study and a single blind pragmatic pilot RCT.
This work illustrated that for those with SAIS there was strong evidence that exercise decreased pain and improved function at short-term follow-up. Furthermore patients in the RCT exit interviews described a process of self-management via the exercise. This development of this research is timely, in-line with health initiatives such as “Transforming Your Care” (2011)
The aim of the research is to increase accessibility and subsequent uptake of our evidence based exercise program by developing and evaluating a responsive mobile app.
1.Translate the exercise programme into a digital app
2.Conduct a series of user-centred design workshops (patients, therapists)
3.Pilot the app in clinical practice gaining feedback from patients and clinicians
4.Explore the perceptions of the physiotherapists and patients in the use of app technology in physiotherapy
3-stage mixed methods qualitative (focus groups) and quantitative (questionnaire survey) research
Stage 1 The exercise programme will be translated into a functional mobile app to be deployed on android, Apple and Windows mobile platforms using phased release for personalised exercise programmes for patients with SAIS. Three distinct versions of the app will be released in an effort to follow a user centric design process. At each release of the software a workshop will be held to receive feedback from users which will subsequently be incorporated into following versions. Population RESEARCHERS To ensure technical stability and logical workflow, a cohort of n=5 software developers (experienced in the development of mobile apps for healthcare applications) will be recruited from SERG to test and evaluate the app over 28 days. CLINICAL Senior physiotherapists (n=8) and patients with SAIS (n=8) will be recruited for 2 focus groups. Discussion will take place regarding aesthetics of the app and the manipulation of digital material. Analysis – Thematic analysis of group discussions.
Stage 2 The app will be rolled out through the Northern Health and Social Care Trust. An online survey will be distributed to: (i) physiotherapists and (ii) patients; to gauge opinions of user-friendliness of, and adherence to, the online resource. Population – (i) Musculoskeletal physiotherapists, (ii) Patients with SAIS. Analysis – Descriptive statistics. Direct feedback from monitoring patients’ interaction with the app.
Stage 3 A series of focus groups will be convened (n=48 in total) with the aim to gauge the experiences of using the app, engaging with the technology, the delivery of this type of healthcare in this manner in terms of a quality service and the role of app technology in remote healthcare in physiotherapy. Population - Patients and Physiotherapists who have used the app Analysis – thematic analysis of focus groups
- To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.
If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.
- Relevant professional qualification and/or a Degree in a Health or Health related area
The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:
Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)
Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)
Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,500 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)
Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Department for the Economy (DFE)
The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,285 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies
The Doctoral College at Ulster University
Ulster University has very enhanced independent learning. I strongly recommend my students to go abroad to broaden their vision to get new motivation. I tell them that when studying at Ulster University, they will receive an abundance of knowledge, new experiences and strong technology to enhance their life.
Professor Stenver Lin - PhD RadiologyWatch Video
My career has spanned working within the community for both voluntary and statutory organisations. After completing my degree (Psychology) and Masters many years ago I was drawn once again to the academic life and the challenge of a PhD. I was tremendously privileged a secure a fellowship from HSC R&D office to fund my PhD. After having most recently worked within a health Trust supporting family carers, I wanted to investigate the impact of support services for family carers. I knew that male carers were 'hidden' and as such were particularly in need of support, so my PhD was within this area.I'm definitely most proud of MYSELF! My proudest moment was when I initially secured the funding for the PhD. My favorite memories involved data collection with the wonderful interview participants; and also the camaraderie of my PhD peers, who were always on hand to share the laughter... and the tears. I'll never forget.... my viva!
Anne Fee - PhD in Nursing and Health
I am a medical doctor by training, graduating from the University of Khartoum. I have a clinical MD in Community Medicine from Sudan Medical Specialization Board and a Masters in Molecular Medicine in from Institute of Endemic Diseses/University of Khartoum. I was the head of the Community Medicine Department at Shendi University in Sudan from 2010 – 2013 before moving to Northern Ireland to complete a Master of Public Health at Queen’s University, Belfast. I moved to Northern Ireland to complete a Master’s of Public Health at Queen’s University, Belfast in 2012/13. I was awarded the Ulster University Vice Chancellor’s Research Scholarship (VCRS) to undertake a PhD in the prevalence and risk factors of congenital heart disease in Northern Ireland which contributes to the primary prevention of congenital heart disease in Northern Ireland by determining the extent to which specific maternal risk factors are associated with the risk of having a baby with
Hafi Saad - PhD in Nursing and Health
I am currently the Director for the Department of Nursing-midwifery and Women's Heath at NTUNHS. I studied at Ulster University for 3 years and it was a very happy time. Ulster is very good for study, not only in academic work but it also shows you how to be a good teacher.
Professor Chein Huei Kao - PhD Health Science of NursingWatch Video