Implementing change in health systems is the final stage in a journey that begins with research discovery. In order for change to be sustainable it must be backed by evidence, be workable and have the support of those who deliver services and clinical care.

Implementation research helps achieve this end. It is the scientific study of methods to promote the systematic uptake of research findings and other evidence-based activities into routine practice.

Major projects

Two major projects have been managed by our Implementation Research Group to find ways to integrate research findings into policy and practice to improve the quality of patient care.

This study tested a multifaceted implementation strategy to improve care for men with locally advanced prostate cancer using the best available evidence.

The study — Clinician-Led Improvement in Cancer Care (CLICC) — was funded by the NHMRC and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. It was supported by the strong clinical, consumer and policy support of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and the Agency for Clinical Innovation’s Urology Network.

The CLICC study was one of the first randomised trials to test the effectiveness of clinical networks to lead changes in clinical practice and improve care. The CLICC study assessed whether a tailored, clinician-led intervention in nine hospitals within the Agency for Clinical Innovation’s Urology Network increased evidence-based care for prostate cancer patients at high risk of recurrence after surgery.

The CLICC study also helped to boost research capacity in NSW by developing research tools and training PhD students.

Papers reporting the results of the CLICC Study have been published.

Study partners

The Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI)

Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia

Cancer Council NSW

The University of Sydney

The Institute partnered with the Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI) to understand how effective its clinical networks are and how they can drive improvements in care in the NSW health system.

The ACI has a unique program of clinical networks that work across metropolitan and rural NSW in partnership with local health districts, specialty networks, researchers and non-government organisations. These networks provide a framework for consumers and clinicians to communicate. They have high levels of clinician ownership and are a potentially powerful vehicle to identify innovations that enhance health services.

The Institute brought together researchers from NSW, across Australia and overseas to investigate the practicalities of making these networks as effective as possible. This work is an example of how we conduct implementation research, studying ways to integrate research findings into policy and practice in order to improve the quality of care.

The project was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the ACI in partnership with a coalition of researchers from different disciplines across a range of universities. Establishing connections between local researchers and international experts builds capacity in NSW for implementation research.

Papers reporting the results of the Determinants of Effective Clinical Networks Project have been published.

Study partners

The University of Sydney

The University of Melbourne

The University of Newcastle

Australian Catholic University

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)