Translating research outcomes into clinical practice

Morgan Liotta

24/11/2020 3:08:36 PM

New funding will enable the RACGP to advance research and translate the findings to general practices in areas where healthcare barriers exist.

Professor Grant Russell and Mr Rowan Kennedy
(L–R) Professor Grant Russell and Rowan Kennedy are hoping the pilot can be used as a platform to enhance opportunities for general practices.

Translational research focuses on translating discoveries from the laboratory into the clinic, with the aim to improve detection, diagnosis and treatment of conditions to improve health outcomes.
The RACGP Foundation, in collaboration with the departments of general practice at Monash Melbourne universities, recently secured funding from the Windermere Foundation to develop the Translating Research Outcomes into the Primary Health Interface (TROPHI) healthcare model.
TROPHI brings together these stakeholders with the aim to help break down barriers in often-fragmented primary care and general practice research landscape.
‘A uniform and coherent primary care voice is missing in the national research narrative,’ according to the funding proposal put forward.
It is hoped that TROPHI will inform a national framework and generate internationally recognised research outcomes, while providing benefits to the Australian community.
‘The genesis was really to help patients, but also general practices, to have better health outcomes by having relevant research communicated to GPs,’ Windermere Foundation Chair Rowan Kennedy told newsGP.
‘We are looking to develop a means of communicating effectively with GPs … to garner their attention and communicate with them in a way that’s really efficient, in way that matters to them and in a way they will want to participate in.’
A three-year project beginning with a pilot program in the outer-east region of Melbourne in early 2021, the plan is for TROPHI to then expand nationally.
This particular area was chosen because of its mix of urban and regional, bringing diversity to the pilot program. It is also an area of noted healthcare barriers to community needs, such as excess drug use and a significant elderly population, which will continue as the city grows.
Professor Grant Russell is a GP, Chair of the AJGP Editorial Advisory Committee, Professor of Primary Care Research at Monash University, and a TROPHI lead.
He told newsGP he is excited for the opportunity to bring together general practice, academic research and the community.
‘TROPHI represents an opportunity to have a real impact for valuable organisations to collaborate that maybe haven’t had much of an opportunity to in the past – the college, two universities, as well as [non-financial collaborator] Eastern Health under the one banner of a large health provider of hospital and community-based services,’ he said.
‘The concept is to bring those organisations together to help foster research and translate the findings in to the general practice clinics in the outer-east of Melbourne. This will involve members of the community, GPs and other general practice staff to shape the project over the first 6­–9 months.’
A number of different opportunities will be offered to the practices, including work with the universities to upskill their research, their own research expertise, secondment prospects, and the chance to participate in other large pieces of research.
‘Some of the lessons of big research projects done within the universities can be the first port of call for translation to come into the outer-east, fast-tracking the opportunities and abilities [for general practices] out there,’ Professor Russell said.
The opportunities arising from TROPHI are not just restricted to GPs or people wanting to make a career out of research, Professor Russell said, but there are structured opportunities for students, GPs in training, PhD candidates and others within the general practice team.
One element of the first year of the project is to market to and identify other stakeholders that could be part of improving the current structured initiative.
‘Everyone wants a piece of general practice,’ Professor Russell said.
‘And that’s where the building it together with general practice is really important. Rather than it being the traditional top-down, we’ve got all the solutions.
‘Eastern Health are also really enthused about this opportunity as they have a lot of interest in trying to do things better, particularly in general practice. They see this as a real opportunity that they can be strongly collaborating with.’
Mr Kennedy agrees the collaborative model is one of the key benefits of the project.
‘We [Windermere] really like the idea of the college being the lead organisation here, as they have a national reach and that’s a very good fit,’ he said. ‘And the universities have a different approach we were really attracted to, so to bring those two together is really important.
‘We’ve got a much better outcome than we could have hoped to achieve individually. We see this as the optimal outcome for our endeavours and we’re overjoyed about that.’
More information on the TROPHI project will available on the RACGP Foundation website once the pilot commences in early 2021.
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