Research

FOCOS Research

Department Overview

The FOCOS Research Unit performs a systematic collection, analysis and interpretation of clinical data. The eventual goal is to contribute to the body of knowledge regarding clinical practice and to inform clinical decisions in orthopedic and spine surgery.

Scope of Activities

Members of the research team perform a wide range of activities at the core of the clinical research process such as:

  • Research Designing
  • Development of Data Collection Tools
  • Actual Data Collection
  • Data Analysis
  • Report Writing

Beside these core research roles, the Research Unit performs a variety of functions including:

  • Maintaining and updating the Hospitals’ Research database.
  • Monitoring all patients in pre-operative Halo Gravity Traction and obtaining all necessary data before their surgeries taking clinical /surgical pictures as well as videos both pre-operative and intra operative.These photos may be used for educational purposes and evaluation of surgeries.
  • Providing Data Management Support.
  • Provides clinical support to the medical team during consultation hours

Clinical study types

We conduct both observational and experimental clinical studies. We also employ both retrospective and prospective designs. Our clinical research themes broadly fall in the area of spine deformity, degenerative spine disease, and arthroplasties.

Research design and development

Together with our interdisciplinary research group (comprising surgeons, physicians, anesthetists, nurses, dieticians, radiologist, biomedical scientist and physiotherapists), we identify research study goals, research methods, and variables of interest and other parameters to be investigated. We ensure the entire study protocol falls in line with ethical guidelines.

Research Ethics

Research protocols are approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), College of Health Sciences, and University of Ghana.  Research consents are obtained from research participants. Childs assent and parental consent are obtained from participants under 18 years.

International Research Collaboration

The Unit also collaborates with other international research teams and has ongoing collaboration with international spine research teams such as the Growing Spine Study Group (GSSG) and the FOX Pediatric Deformity Study Group. We also collaborate with other individual investigators to conduct clinical studies.

Mission Trips

In partnership with our foreign partners, the unit participates in mission trips to both Ethiopia and Sierra Leone twice a year. This enables our surgeons and the research team to:

  • Assess outcomes among post-operative patients regarding their wellbeing, issues arising as a result of the surgery, complications and quality of life.
  • Follow up on patients who otherwise cannot afford return flight to Ghana for follow-up.
  • Evaluate new (pre-op) patients and prioritize them based on the age, severity of symptoms, and urgency for surgical intervention.
  • Administer follow-up health related quality of life questionnaires to patients
  • Reduce loss to follow-up/censoring of research data among patients enrolled in prospective clinical studies.
  • Perform minor surgical procedures such as Lengthening of Growing Rods.