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About the award

Collaboration between researchers, policy makers, service users, health managers and clinicians in research is critical and can lead to findings that are more likely to be innovative and positively inform health decisions. This includes innovative future focused infrastructure and digital health initiatives.

Awardees may have demonstrated outstanding and innovative achievements by establishing:

  • ways of assisting clinicians and health decision makers to find or use research effectively
  • research partnerships or collaborations involving clinicians, health service providers, decision makers and/or consumers that have led to outstanding examples of research that changed policy or practice
  • acknowledgement by decision makers of the impact of research on their policy or practice
  • eHealth, health information and data analytics to support and harness health and medical research and innovation
  • clinical practices and processes delivered through innovative built spaces including new approaches to effective and efficient building outcomes to deliver clinical outcomes.

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Joint winner - SWAP-IT Healthy Lunchbox Program

Hunter New England Local Health District

Transcript: SWAP-IT Healthy Lunchbox Program

Everyday across the Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD), 95,718 children consume greater than 3.5 serves of unhealthy (discretionary) food in their school lunchbox (ABS, 2018; ACARA, 2022).

Decreasing such food intake by 600 kilojoules (kJ) per week would reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes prevalence, resulting in healthcare savings of up to $1.35 million (Ma, 2016).

Supporting parents and caregivers to pack their children healthier lunchboxes to yield personal and health system benefits is a considerable challenge.

Within four years, the team delivered a comprehensive program of research comprised of studies to co-design (Sutherland, 2019a), pilot (Sutherland, 2019b), optimise (Brown, 2021b) and scale-up an innovative school-lunchbox program, providing critical evidence to guide population health service provision in HNELHD and NSW.

Results indicate SWAP-IT significantly improved student dietary intake (Sutherland, 2021a); reduced child overweight and obesity (Barnes, 2021); is acceptable to parents and principals (Sutherland, 2021b); is cost-effective (Sutherland, 2021b); and can be successfully scaled-up.

As an innovative and scalable digital lunchbox intervention, SWAP-IT aligned with the ‘Health Research and Innovation’ category and the ‘Future Health’ Strategic Outcomes 1 (co-design), 2 (integrated care), 5 (advance and translate innovation with partners) and 6 (value-based healthcare).

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Joint winner - Lumos: Connected data, healthier NSW

NSW Ministry of Health

Transcript: Lumos: Connected data, healthier NSW

Until the Lumos program, there was an information gap that limited our ability to address important health system research questions. Lumos now addresses this by providing data from NSW general practices (GPs) linked to data held by NSW Health.

This delivers new opportunities for data-driven evidence to positively inform health decisions and increase collaboration between researchers, policy makers, service users, health managers, and clinicians.

The program has been evolving through a highly successful partnership with NSW Primary Health Networks (PHNs). Today it has over 600 GPs in all 10 PHNs and provides highly valued data and analytics to support primary care and NSW Health priorities. The Lumos program proudly possesses a high degree of social license and actively contributes to current priorities in patient care services across the health system.

The program shines a light on patient journeys with the key purpose of achieving better patient care. The Lumos program aligns strongly with the NSW Future Health strategic outcome, “Research and innovation, and digital advances inform service delivery”. It also addresses other strategic outcomes of Future Health.

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Finalist - Profocal-Rx: Next-gen, robotic laser for prostate cancer

Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District

Transcript: Profocal-Rx: Next-gen, robotic laser for prostate cancer

This project was a collaborative team effort between policy makers, service users, health managers, industry partners (Medlogical Innovations), clinicians, and researchers. Its aim was to evaluate a novel focal therapy that has the potential to transform the landscape of prostate cancer treatment.

This device’s development was provided with seed funding by the 2017 NSW Health Medical Devices Fund grant program.

Traditional prostate cancer treatments, surgery (radical prostatectomy), or radical radiotherapy, can cause significant morbidity with most patients experiencing incontinence and/or erectile dysfunction.

Profocal laser ablation is a next-generation, robotic precision-targeted, fast, day-only treatment with the first trial performed at Nepean Hospital.

Profocal laser ablation specifically targets the cancer, negating the need for radical treatment of the prostate.

Interim analysis of the first 40 patients resulted in:

  • 85% having successful treatment and avoiding the need for radical treatment
  • No significant decline in patient-reported outcomes (quality of life, lower urinary tract symptoms, and sexual function).

It can be concluded that Profocal laser ablation can successfully treat prostate cancer while preserving the quality of life, which for many patients is a significant improvement when compared with traditional radical treatment.

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Finalist - Vaccine induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia: Diagnosis and management of a new disease

Sydney Local Health District

Transcript: Vaccine induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia: Diagnosis and management of a new disease

A rare complication of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine, Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) rapidly became a public health issue affecting vaccine confidence. VITT is a novel and severe clotting syndrome with mortality rates of 40-50% if not recognised.

We aimed to reduce the VITT mortality and morbidity rates in Australia, empower clinicians to recognise and treat a novel disease, and mitigate vaccine hesitancy. A living guidance platform was implemented and supported, starting at time of first VITT patient presentation.

National diagnostics incorporating key clinical characteristics were coordinated through Concord Hospital. A novel platelet function assay developed at ANZAC Research Institute was transitioned to Concord Diagnostic Pathology Unit. ELISA tests used to diagnosis heparin-induced thrombosis and thrombocytopenia were adapted for VITT.

A national management program was implemented. This included a weekly online update on clinical guidance for clinicians which was linked to a multidisciplinary tool to guide frontline clinicians to urgent management initiation.

More than 13.6 million doses of AZ were administered in Australia. More than 1,500 patients were referred for ELISA testing, and over 400 patients were managed using novel platelet diagnostic tests.

Early reports in the UK showed 40% to 50% VITT mortality rates. As a result of the work of Sydney Local Health District, VITT mortality rates were 5-6% in 176 VITT cases — results which not only changed patient outcomes but boosted public confidence in COVID-19 vaccinations.

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Current as at: Thursday 1 December 2022
Contact page owner: NSW Health