The Centre for Health Research Illawarra Shoalhaven Population (CHRISP) is an exciting research partnership between the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) and the University of Wollongong (UOW), comprised of the Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI) and the School of Medicine (SOM).
Centre for Health Research Illawarra Shoalhaven Population
The main aims of the partnership are to lead and support priority-driven and investigator-driven research, and to facilitate research capacity building and the translation of research findings into policy and practice.
The research partnership includes the multidisciplinary CHRISP team and the Illawarra Health Information Platform (IHIP), a powerful stand-alone research data repository and health records linkage system.
Based at the Innovation Campus, the CHRISP team has expertise and experience in health services research, evaluation and management, biostatistics, information technology, health informatics and epidemiology.
Established in 2016, the aim of CHRISP is to help build research capacity in the region and to provide access to high quality health data which will be used to improve the health and wellbeing of the local community. In order to meet this aim, the partnership has supported the establishment of the Illawarra Health Information Platform (IHIP) a powerful stand-alone data linkage IT system.Find out more about CHRISP
Associate Professor Judy Mullan, Director of CHRISP: The CHRISP team has expertise in medicine, public health, epidemiology, statistics, and data linkage, so we have a team of people with expertise in those different fields which actually enables the research to happen in a timely manner as well, so that’s a really good thing.
The University of Wollongong and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District developed a research partnership two years ago because they wanted to use this wonderful expansive data that they’ve had, up to thirty years’ worth of clinical data, for not only health service planning, but to also improve clinical practice. So the partnership and the research that they wanted to undertake was looking at priority-driven research, which is something that the health service itself decides their priority areas. They also wanted to do clinician-driven research, so that when clinicians have a burning question that they want to ask, they ask us if we have the data that will actually compliment that research question and they can derive the findings and use them for improving clinical practice or for improving health service delivery.
The goals are 1) to address the needs of the local community in terms of health research, 2) to provide access to high quality data for that research, 3) to build capacity for research within the local health district and the university, and 4) to translate the research findings into practice so that they can have access to the findings of research in a timely manner and they can put them in to service planning or clinical practice.
Margot Mains, CE at Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District: Now we’re at the stage of bringing managers and clinicians together with academics, statisticians, epidemiologists, and we’re actually seeing an exponential impact starting to occur where the number of projects and the amount of research that we’re doing has accelerated and it’s really exciting.
James Brinton, Service Lead Emergency, and Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District: The clinicians and the emergency department have worked closely with the University to look at the type of patients that are presenting to our emergency departments, and we found that the University helped to concrete what we thought by analysing millions of patient records and data, the sort of things that we can’t do every day. At the hospital, we’ve collaborated with people at the University like Dr Luise Lago and ASHRI to do the things that we can’t do with big patient data. The CHRISP database used our own information but it was given back to us in a way that we could synthesise it. We ran a workshop that had 30 or 40 clinicians at it and at the same time had University researchers in the room, and that helped us really understand what it was that we were seeing in our patients every day.
Dr Luise Lago, Senior Statistician at CHRISP: One thing we’ve looked at is whether patients who are a frequent attender to the Emergency Department in one year remain a frequent attender in another year and subsequent years. The results were quite surprising, 80 per cent of people who are a frequent attender in one year are no longer a frequent attender in the next year. In research, having translation, so making changes to practice, really relies on the clinicians be involved in developing the questions as well as developing the answer. Sometimes they don’t have a lot of say in the question, they just want to know what the question is, and other times they really help shape the question, but having them involved in understanding and interpreting the data, in running the workshops, and in making changes in the hospitals means there is a much better level of engagement and trust in what you’re doing. We really believe that with research, if you don’t have clinicians involved right at the start, they don’t want you to come in at the end and say “Oh look what we found about your emergency department”. That has been really crucial to the success of what we’re doing.
Margot Mains, CE at Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District: What excites me about this is that through the research that we’re doing, we will be able to ensure that we target our services in the right place and we also ensure that the person gets the right services at the right time, and therefore if you pull all that together, the patient will have much better outcomes and a much better quality of life.