In 2016 the Clinical Trials Stream was awarded a $40,000 grant from Sydney Health Partners to accelerate the development of the Sydney Health Partners ClinTrial Refer app.
Since then, University of Sydney Medical School students have been populating the app with information on the currently recruiting clinical trials from across Sydney Health Partners’ partner organisations. While the app is now available for download it will be officially launched in October 2017, and will include an accurate and comprehensive list of the currently recruiting trials across all of the partner organisations. The Sydney Health Partners ClinTrial app will be the first to include trials from a range of different disciplines - including cardiology, neurology, gastroenterology and cancer - rather than being specific to one type of cancer.
One of the students working on the trial is Fatima Tahir. She outlines below the progress that has been made on the app to date, and the benefits the app will bring to patients, clinicians and researchers.
You were granted $40,000 in Accelerator Funds from Sydney Health Partners for the ‘Clin Trial Refer app’ project. Can you tell us a little more about this project and what it is aiming to achieve?
The ClinTrial Refer app project is a Sydney Health Partners initiative that aims to collate all ongoing trials across the partnership in order to create a unified trial registry. This will assist clinicians in searching for clinical trials that are relevant to their patients. It will increase recruitment to trials, thereby assisting researchers who are conducting clinical research across the partnership. Finally, it will give patients the opportunity to participate in clinical trials that will improve emerging therapies and guide treatment.
The user friendly smartphone app can be searched by speciality, sub-category, location, trial status and sponsor. This will allow clinicians and researchers to access all currently recruiting trials within the partnership.
Can you also tell us more about how these funds will help patients?
World class medical treatment for patients is only possible with the latest advancements in clinical investigations, and to achieve this, local investment in evidence based research is crucial. Clinical research units such as the Haematology Clinical Research Unit at Concord Hospital are at the forefront of this movement. However, one of the main barriers to completion of trials is slow recruitment of patients. Often, this is due to lack of awareness of the existence of clinical trials. The ClinTrial Refer app aims to increase recruitment to trials by providing a list of ongoing trials within the partnership that can be accessed by all clinicians. This will directly give patients the opportunity to access emerging therapies and receive personalised care.
Where is the project up to? How is it progressing?
Currently, we have entered over 480 trials from various institutions and disciplines across the partnership. These include Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Royal North Shore Hospital, The George Institute, Charles Perkins Centre, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Westmead Hospital, Nepean Hospital and the University of Sydney, to name a few. The app is available to download via the App Store on Apple devices, and an Android version will be released soon.
Has being part of Sydney Health Partners helped you to collaborate with organisations from across the partnership?
Sydney Health Partners has been essential in helping us collate trials from across NSW. It is only with their support that we have been able to enter an incredible amount of trials in such a timely manner. We would like to especially thank Professor Garry Jennings, the Executive Director of Sydney Health Partners, and Dr Judith Trotman, the inventor of the ClinTrial Refer App, for assisting us in contacting organisations across the partnership.
What is the potential for ‘scaling up’ this project throughout the health system?
There is definite potential for this project to be incorporated throughout the health system. At the moment, we are targeting the Sydney, Northern Sydney and Western Sydney Local Health Districts. In future, we hope to expand our partnership across NSW, and eventually throughout Australia. This will create a unified research registry and a strong partnership amongst clinicians and researchers across the country to ensure that patients receive outstanding local care.