Scholarships open door to wide-ranging research
HARC scholars 2016
Pictured: Mr Malcolm Green, Dr Kim Sutherland, Ms Bernadette Aliprandi-Costa and Mr Vladimir Williams.

Four future healthcare leaders are set to embark on research in areas ranging from exploring ways to ensure authentic Aboriginal voices are represented in the health system to the use of electronic health records alerts to keep patients safe, after being awarded 2016 HARC (Hospital Alliance for Research Collaboration) scholarships.

The scholarships, which give researchers the opportunity to travel abroad to investigate areas of future health policy, were first awarded in 2010 and are available to employees of the HARC partner organisations: the Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC), Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI), Bureau of Health Information (BHI), Cancer Institute NSW, Office of Kids and Families, NSW Health and the Sax Institute. They aim to support future healthcare leaders to develop advanced skills in using research in policy making, as well as helping them develop connections to national and international experts in health services research.

Ms Bernadette Aliprandi-Costa Program Manager Clinical Trials, with the Cancer Institute NSW aims to develop a statewide operational and reporting framework for cancer clinical trials.  She said, the scholarship would enable her to review international frameworks that may be suitable to address statewide variation in clinical trial operational performance across NSW.

Research into best practice design of the electronic health record (EHR) to ensure that the right clinician has the right information at the right time to keep patients safe will be the focus of the research project to be undertaken by Mr Malcom Green, Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) Manager, Deteriorating Patient Programs. Mr Green  said the electronic health record had the potential to identify deteriorating patients earlier using complex algorithms that prompt clinicians when a risk is identified. However, there was an inherent risk that constant EHR alerts could lead to “alert fatigue”, and he said the project would also explore innovative solutions to overcome that problem.

Mr Vladimir Williams, an analyst with the Office of Kids and Families, NSW Health, will be testing a pilot methodology to ensure authentic Aboriginal community voices are represented within health care design and delivery in NSW to improve Aboriginal health outcomes.  He said researching community engagement approaches within the Maori community in New Zealand might identify other ways of working that could translate into the NSW Health context.

Dr Kim Sutherland will focus on the issue of measuring and reporting of unwarranted clinical variation in order to support system improvement. Dr Sutherland, Director of Systems and Thematic Reports with the Bureau of Health Information (BHI), said she would be exploring how European countries’ experience could be applied to the NSW context.

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