Translation research and value in healthcare

Translating research into immediate or future implementation
Our aim is to optimise the delivery of healthcare through innovation, applying implementation science and supporting knowledge transfer.

Our research includes projects from any of the Flagship research groups that sit along the translational pipeline from basic sciences research to population health research, with an explicit focus on immediate or future implementation into healthcare policy or practice.

It particularly focuses on:

  • implementation science projects (the study of methods to promote the integration of research findings and evidence into healthcare policy and practice), and 
  • the implementation of high-value care (care that is effective and cost efficient and improves health outcomes and experiences that matter to patients, clinicians and health services) and de-implementation of low-value care.

Our current projects

Back and neck pain

This trial will evaluate the effect of an opioid stewardship intervention on general practitioner prescribing of opioid medicines dispensed to their patients with low back pain over 1 year from index visit.

Lead investigator: Dr Christina Abdel Shaheed

Investigator team: Professor Chris Maher, Professor Fiona Blyth, Professor Andrew McLachlan, Associate Professor Patrick Kelly, Associate Professor Fiona Stanaway,  Dr Thomas Lung, Dr Rachel Thompson, Professor Louisa Degenhardt, Associate Professor Rowena Ivers

Operational team: Mr Daniel Chapman, Miss Lisa Vizza

This trial will evaluate the effect of introducing a coordinated support system (linking hospital outpatient physiotherapy services to a public health coaching service) at discharge from low back pain treatment, compared with usual care provided at discharge. 

Lead investigator: Professor Paulo Ferreira

Investigator team: Emeritus Professor Adrian Bauman,  Professor Melissa Baysari, Professor Manuela Ferreira, Professor Chris Maher, Professor Rachael Morton, Associate Professor Milena Simic, Dr Anita Amorim, Dr Emma Ho, Professor Paul Hodges, Professor Chris Lonsdale, Dr Dragana Ceprnja, Dr Ornella Clavisi, Dr Alice Kongsted, Dr Qiang Li, Dr Kate Reid, Mr Mark Halliday, Mr Matthew Jennings, Ms Katherine Maka, Ms Tahlia Reynolds

Operational team: Dr Carlos Mesa Castrillon, Dr Emma Ho, Mr Julian Comis, Ms Kate Roberts, Mr James Zouch

Find out more information about the trial.

Find out more information about the trial protocol.

HELP will investigate whether a media-led intervention presenting evidence-based back pain management information in General Practice waiting rooms is effective at changing patient beliefs and medical practitioner behaviours (prescriptions and referrals).

Lead investigator: Professor Manuela Ferreira

Investigator team: Emeritus Professor Adrian Bauman, Professor Melissa Baysari, Professor Paulo Ferreira, Dr Liliana Laranjo, Dr Gustavo Machado, Professor Andrew Georgiou

Operational team: Ms Carolina G. Fritsch, Mr Michael Knox, Ms Alessandra Marcelo, Mr Riyaas Mohammed, Ms Joanna Prior

NUDG-ED is a 2x2 factorial, open label, before-after, cluster randomised controlled trial that will investigate behavioural ‘nudging’ strategies to reduce use of low value care for low back pain in ED. 

Lead investigator: Dr Adrian Traeger

Investigator team: Professor Kirsten Howard, Professor Chris Maher, Professor Kirsten McCaffery, Professor Rachelle Buchbinder, Professor Louise Cullen, Professor Ian Harris, Professor Jeff Linder, Professor Enrico Coiera, Mr Qiang Li

Operational team: Dr Swee Sharma, Ms Gemma Altinger

Find out more information about the trial.

SUcceSS is a prospectively registered, randomised placebo-controlled trial of decompressive spinal surgery in people with symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis. 

Lead investigator: Professor Manuela Ferreira

Investigator team: Professor Jane Latimer, Professor Chris Maher, Professor David Beard, Professor Rachelle Buchbinder, Professor Ian Harris, Professor Stephen Jan, Dr Gavin Davis, Dr Qian Li, Dr Ralph Mobbs, Dr Ralph Stanford

Operational team: Dr Emma Ho, Mr Michael Knox, Ms Joanna Prior

Find out more information about the trial.

Find out more information about the trial protocol.

RESHAPED will develop, implement, and evaluate a novel model of care for the management of low back pain in emergency departments (ED). The model of care aims to relieve pressure on EDs. 

Lead investigator: Professor Chris Maher

Investigator team: Professor Lisa Harvey, Professor Kirsten Howard, Professor Kirsten McCaffery, Professor Vasi Naganathan, Associate Professor Chris Williams, Dr Gustavo Machado, Professor Laurent Billot, Professor Rachelle Buchbinder, Professor Ian Harris, Professor Leigh Kinsman, Professor Jonathan Wiggers, Dr James Edwards, Dr Narcyz Ghinea, Dr Eileen Rogan

Operational team: Dr Danielle Coombs 

This trial will evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of implementing ‘Back@Home’, a virtual hospital model of care for patients with musculoskeletal low back pain presenting to the emergency department, in reducing length of hospital stay.

Lead investigator: Dr Gustavo Machado

Investigator team: Professor Chris Maher, Dr Danielle M Coombs, Dr Thomas Lung, Ms Alla Melman, Mr Min Jiat Teng, Professor Laurent Billot, Dr Owen Hutchings, Dr Qiang Li, Dr Mona Marabani, Dr Eileen Rogan

Healthy ageing, physical activity & rehabilitation

We hope the findings of this project lead to enhanced promotion of physical activity by health professionals for people aged 50+ and people of all ages with a physical disability.

The aim of the project is to to collaboratively develop and test a strategy to support health professionals to promote PA to their patients – including older adults and children/adolescents/adults with physical disabilities – within their daily clinical practice.

The project is currently recruiting participants for phase one of the study-collaborative implementation strategy development.

In this phase we will conduct interviews, focus groups, workshops and surveys with health professionals, exercise providers and consumers to identify barriers to PA promotion and collaboratively develop the evidence-based implementation strategies and intervention elements.

Phase 2 of the study is a Type 2 hybrid effectiveness-implementation cluster randomised trial (2023 onwards).

In Phase 2 we will test the effectiveness of the implementation strategies and intervention elements in a Type 2 hybrid cluster randomised trial recruiting 800 participants across 30 sites.

Lead investigator: Professor Cathie Sherrington

Investigator team: Our team comprises of academics, public health experts and health economists from the University of Sydney, UNSW, Western Sydney University and Australian Catholic University, as well as multi-disciplinary clinicians from five Local Health Districts (Sydney, Western Sydney, South-Western Sydney, South-Eastern Sydney and Sydney Children Hospitals Network). Partner organisations include Disability Sport Australia, Australian Physiotherapy Association, Clinical Excellence Commission, iCare and Belgravia Leisure.

For more information about this project, please contact Kate Purcell.

This project has received ethics approval from Local Health District Ethics Committees and is being funded by an NHMRC Partnership Grant.

We hope the findings of this project will lead to improved physical activity levels in patients receiving brief physical activity counselling as part of their physiotherapy treatment.

BEHAVIOUR is a hybrid type II cluster randomised controlled trial.

The aim is to evaluate the effectiveness of a multi-faceted implementation strategy compared to usual care on increasing the proportion of patients receiving brief physical activity counselling as part of hospital-based physiotherapy care, and subsequently improving the physical activity levels among these patients.

Physiotherapists in the intervention group will be assigned to receive the multi-faceted implementation strategy immediately to support them to incorporate brief physical activity counselling into their routine care.

The main implementation strategies will include education training, creating a learning collaborative, tailored strategies to address community referral barriers, facilitation and audit and feedback.

The control group will receive an updated version of the implementation strategy at the end of the trial.

The trial will be conducted with physiotherapists across all hospitals in South Western Sydney Local Health District and will include participants from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Lead investigator: Associate Professor Leanne Hassett

Investigator team: Professor Cathie Sherrington, Professor Sarah Dennis, Professor Kirsten Howard, Dr Alison Pearce, Dr Marina Pinheiro, Professor Colin Greaves, Dr Bernadette Brady, Dr Lauren Christie, Matthew Jennings, Balwinder Sidhu

This study is funded through the MRFF preventive & public health grant (2020–2023) and NHMRC TRIP Fellowship (2019–2020).