Sydney Health Partners and Health Districts Support Implementation Science

Seven projects have received pilot grants of $25,000 each after being shortlisted by the inaugural Sydney Health Partners Implementation Science Grant Program in 2020. The grants are in addition to the four projects funded directly by Sydney Health Partners last August as part of the program.

SHP Executive Director, Professor Don Nutbeam, says the extra financial support provided by Sydney Local Health District (SLHD), Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) and Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD) is indicative of the Partners’ strong commitment to research translation.

“Having received a large number of high-quality grant applications, Sydney Health Partners asked for additional support from its Partners and they have responded magnificently,” said Professor Nutbeam.  “I’d like to thank the local health districts for recognising the promise of these implementation projects and I am confident they will receive great value from the funds they’ve provided.”

Research implementation funded by SLHD includes a web-based intervention to support families who have lost a child to sudden cardiac death, a wholistic approach to reducing the risk of hip fractures, the development of Australian guidelines for the use of mobile chest radiographs for COVID-19 patients, and an oncologist-delivered intervention to manage fear of cancer recurrence.

“We were very pleased by the number of high-quality applications submitted by researchers and clinicians within our District for the implementation science grant scheme,” said SLHD Chief Executive, Dr Teresa Anderson.

“We have always been committed to ensuring high-quality research and innovation underpin our services, and help improve the health outcomes of our patients, their families and our community,” said Dr Anderson.

WSLHD has funded the pilot implementation of two evidence-based interventions: an online resource for people with musculoskeletal conditions and their healthcare professionals, and a decision-aid for men with prostate cancer.

The Director of the district’s Research and Education Network, Professor Mark McLean, says it’s great to work with Sydney Health Partners to identify worthy research proposals. 

“The Partnership is all about sharing ideas and implementing the best care for our patients,” he said.

“These two projects have arisen directly from patient experience.  Clinician researchers are responding to the issues that their patients identify and report to them every day in the clinics.” 

A project to gradually reduce the use of opioids in older people with low back pain, hip or knee osteoarthritis has been funded by NSLHD.

“Supporting the implementation of novel interventions which address current health service needs builds on Northern Sydney Local Health District’s already significant commitment to Sydney Health Partners,” said its Chief Executive, Deb Willcox. “This is one way we can help bridge the research-practice gap.”

SHP’s Director of Implementation Science, Dr Nicole Rankin, says all the pilot projects are examining ways to fast-track healthcare innovations into routine clinical practice, with a particular focus on testing how the interventions – and the strategies used to implement them – operate in real-world clinical settings.

“Our health services are looking for evidence-based solutions to their most pressing problems,” she said. “But research translation is not straight-forward and takes time, in the same way that bench-to-bedside translational research does.”

“We believe that by building capacity in the science of research implementation, and by improving the capacity of collaborative teams, we can reduce the barriers to the efficient and effective translation of research into clinical practice.” 

“Sydney Health Partners looks forward to seeing how the pilot grant teams achieve their goals over the next two years.”