The Core Outcome Set for Acute Otitis Media Study (COS-OM)

What is this project about?

This study aims to develop a Core Outcome Set (COS) relevant to treating acute Otitis Media (AOM) and suitable for use in studies in children. A COS aims to create core outcomes that should be measured and reported in all controlled trials of a specific condition. Using this COS will help AOM research be more consistent and improve the gathering of combined evidence in future research and practice. As a result, the risk of outcome reporting bias and heterogeneity is reduced, and the potential for meta-analysis for key outcomes is increased.

Research Group

  • Dr Esther van der Werf, Homeopathy Research Institute, London, UK
  • Dr Alyson Huntley, Centre for Academic Primary Care, Bristol Medical School, Bristol, UK
  • Dr Rachel Perry, The National Institute for Health and Care Research Applied Research Collaboration West (NIHR ARC West) at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, UK
  • Professor Thomas Ostermann, Department for Psychology, Faculty of Health, University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany.

Lead researcher

Dr Esther van der Werf MSc PhD Dip IACH (Hom)
Clinical Research Lead
Homeopathy Research Institute

Esther has more than 20 years’ experience of clinical research and project management and subsequently worked as an epidemiologist at University of Medical Centre Utrecht and University of Applied Sciences Leiden in the Netherlands. From August 2018 until August 2019, she initiated and led the research group on Integrative Medicine at the School of Medicine of Taylor’s University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, followed by 2 years leading the Integrative Medicine research department at Louis Bolk Institute in The Netherlands.

Esther holds an honorary Senior Lectureship in Primary Care Infection Epidemiology at the Bristol Medical School of the University of Bristol, United Kingdom, and is a visiting Research fellow of the Australian Research Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM), University of Technology Sydney, Australia.

Why is this project important?

Otitis Media (OM), ear infection or inflammation of the middle ear, includes Acute Otitis Media (AOM) and Otitis Media with Effusion (OME), sometimes called ‘glue ear’. AOM is important to children, parents, the public and the health care system because:

  • the infection causes pain and distress to the child and parents;
  • it often results in health service appointments;
  • it is the most common infection for which a child is given antibiotics in the UK.

A wide range of signs and symptoms (outcomes) are measured in AOM research, for example, pain, fever and antibiotic use. Differences in reporting can cause problems when getting an overview of the current research evidence.

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