The development of a core outcome set for trials in surgical handover


Research Area:

Communication/ Core outcome sets/ Methodology/ Research/ Surgery

What is the research about?

Surgical handover between doctors is the exchange of information about a patient that occurs at the time of transfer of responsibility for the patient’s care. During hospitalisation for surgical conditions, these care handovers happen frequently. They are important because mistakes can lead to patient harm due to missed information, or incorrect information being shared between doctors. Unfortunately, the way handover is carried out is rarely the same between different hospitals.

Lots of research has been done to try to improve handover between surgical doctors, but the way this research is carried out differs from study to study. This makes it difficult to compare study results and apply them to the ‘real-world’. There is very little guidance out there to help researchers carry out this research effectively.

When we carry out a research study to try to improve something (such as handover), we use something called an ‘outcome’ to decide if what we did was successful. For example, if we were carrying out research to see if a certain painkiller was effective, we might ask patients to score their pain out of 10 after taking the medication. This is an example of an outcome, of which there are many different types.

A ‘core outcome set’ (COS) is an agreed group of outcomes that should always be looked at when we carry out research in a certain area, they are considered the most important (core) outcomes. We create core outcome sets by involving different groups of people and checking to see what their views are. The aim of this research study is to create a COS for studies that try to improve the surgical handover between doctors. This COS should be used by researchers who carry out future studies in this area. We are inviting three groups of people to take part in this study and sit on the steering committee for the project – Surgical healthcare workers, researchers, and patient and public partners. You fall into the third category. As this is a somewhat specialised area (research methodology), we will meet all applicants to discuss their suitability for the project online via MS Teams. We are looking for patient and public partners who have experience being treated in hospital as a surgical patient, and having had surgery (requiring at least an overnight stay). We are also looking for parents, carers, or family members of these surgical patients.

Further resources which may be of interest to you are included in the links below:

• A video explaining core outcome sets:

• Information leaflet on core outcome sets:

• These resources were developed by the COMET (Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials) initiative. The website for this initiative can be found here:

Opportunity for:

Person living with condition / Parent or carer

Involvement Opportunity Details


Time commitment:

All meetings can be carried out online. The majority of communication will take place via email outside of this. Your involvement will begin immediately with a short minute meeting with the study coordinator (Jessica Ryan) on MS Teams to assess your suitability for the project. If you join the steering committee meetings will take place every 2 months online for the study period.

Contact between meetings:

As much as possible, we will try to communicate via email to reduce the time commitment required.

Length of involvement:

Until Early 2025

Start date for involvement:





If online, explain how:

MS Teams and email

If in person, explain where:

Not applicable

Other ways of communicating:


Funding available for:

PPI contributor’s time

If no funding available, explain why:

Not applicable

Other Information

Stage of the research study/ programme:

Early planning

Is this opportunity for PPI in a PhD:


Closing date to contact researchers:


Research Team

Contact person:

Jessica Ryan


Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Contact email:

Researcher background:

Surgical healthcare professionals, researchers, and methodologists.

Research funder:

The Bon Secours Hospital in Dublin


Interested in this PPI Opportunity?

Please complete this form and click SUBMIT

Scroll to Top