Research Passport

A collaborative group led by Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD) is investigating the feasibility of a health service “passport” which would streamline approvals and processes involved in performing collaborative research.

The proposal, to be piloted initially by NSLHD and Western Sydney Local Health District, aims to eliminate the need for researchers to repeatedly provide the same credentialing information in order to gain access to patients and health data at different locations and in different IT systems.

Ethics and Governance

Ethics and governance officers from across the Partnership meet regularly to discuss other aspects of approval processes that can be streamlined and made more consistent across SHP - and potentially NSW. Representatives have begun developing a standardised internal governance review checklist for use across the Partnership, and have compiled an aggregated list of Human Research Ethics Committee meeting dates.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials provide the essential links between basic scientific research and the eventual translation and implementation of discoveries or evidence into routine clinical care. They can resolve uncertainties about disease management and provide impetus for the discontinuation of low value care. Most importantly, clinical trials can give hope to patients who have not responded to conventional treatment by providing access to leading specialists and innovative therapies, typically resulting in better health outcomes.

Yet despite their enormous value, clinical trials in Australia often face considerable challenges.

Their performance and productivity can be limited by cost and complexity, as well as regulatory, ethical and governance requirements. In addition, clinical trials are sometimes constrained by difficulties in recruiting enough patients, and by shortfalls in the supply, capacity and capability of trials staff.

Sydney Health Partners is working at local, state and national levels to support improvements in clinical trials capacity and recruitment.

Capacity building in NSW

In 2016, Australia’s Health Ministers agreed to reform the clinical trials sector through regional redesign. Sydney Health Partners is working with the NSW Office of Health and Medical Research (OHMR) and the other two translation centres in NSW to address some of the issues impacting clinical trials performance, including workforce planning and better methodology for clinical trials design.

With the support of OHMR, our capacity-building work is being led by Clinical Trials Manager, Joan Torony.

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Clinical Trial Audit

In 2018 SHP undertook an audit of clinical trial activity across the Partnership. The audit combined quantitative data about the scale of the activity with qualitative information provided by research ethics and governance managers, clinical trial investigators and coordinators, and industry partners. The key themes that emerged were the need to improve recruitment, training, job security and retention of trials staff, as well as supporting investigators with better access to clinical trials expertise.

Improving Trials Recruitment

Securing enough appropriate participants is crucial to the success of a clinical trial. Reviews have shown that recruitment estimates are often inaccurate, and the required number of participants is not achieved. Consequently, the power of the study can be weakened, the trial can take longer to meet its targets requiring more resources than planned, or the trial fails to be completed.

To promote the value of clinical trials and assist recruitment, SHP has produced four short-form videos, each featuring a patient whose life was changed for the better by taking part in a clinical trial.

Watch the videos below:

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