Research into reality – reporting on innovations

by Liz Lawrence, Head of Health Service Improvement, Versus Arthritis

Versus Arthritis has a rich research heritage and has funded some great research that has advanced practice including ESCAPE-pain or ‘Enabling Self-management and Coping with Arthritis Pain through Exercise’. This is a six-week rehabilitation programme for people aged 45+ with persistent hip and/or knee osteoarthritis. ESCAPE-pain involves group education and exercise delivered over twelve sessions. The ESCAPE-pain programme was originally developed by Professor Mike Hurley [1] with funding from Arthritis Research UK (now Versus Arthritis).

But how do we move from funding research to making the research a reality for people with arthritis? It is often cited that it can take 17 years for research findings to find their way into practice [2].

This is why Versus Arthritis entered into a 3-year partnership with the Health Innovation Network in South London, with Professor Mike Hurley, their MSK Clinical Director to learn and test approaches for scale up.

We are keen to share our learnings so far, having worked across a further two Academic Health Science Networks and an Active Partnership. We were supported in the learning through external evaluation from Brightpurpose.

We now have a better understanding on some of the challenges and opportunities to spread innovations such as ESCAPE-pain. We think others will be interested in this too, so we are providing highlights of our learning as well as sharing case studies from the three sites we worked with.

The report can be accessed and downloaded here, and for more information about ESCAPE-pain contact: To find out more about this report or the ground breaking work of Versus Arthritis, then please contact:

[1] Intellectual Property for the programme resides with the Health Innovation Network (hosted by Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Trust), Kingston University and St George’s, University of London
[2] Morris ZS, Wooding S, Grant J. The answer is 17 years, what is the question: understanding time lags in translational research. J R Soc Med. 2011;104(12):510–520. doi:10.1258/jrsm.2011.110180