Engaged, effective and efficient
Our Acceleration programs enable better outcomes for cancer patients by driving the implementation of evidence into routine care.
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Clinical trial resources boosted
Clinical trials are cited by members as one of the VCCC Alliance’s most valued areas of impact. In 2022-23, the Clinical Trial Innovations program developed and implemented several projects that significantly boosted capability in key aspects of clinical trials.
The VCCC Alliance’s Clinical Trial Metrics resource is an Australian-first tool that helps provide insight into operational performance and assessing progress, decision-making, and measuring the strength of evidence used in clinical trials.
Another key project is the teletrials toolkit which plays an important role in reducing the divide between metro and regional patients’ ability to access clinical trials. Great progress has been made to establish the governance and processes that should enable teletrials to be a permanent part of the cancer care landscape within a decade.
Social media recruitment
The VCCC Alliance developed a social media toolkit to help researchers understand the specific compliance requirements of advertising clinical trials to recruit participants via social media.
Patient awareness and understanding of clinical trials is also key. New information resources developed by VCCC Alliance were rolled out at a new clinical trial consumer awareness session hosted by Grampians Health. These are now available for other clinical trials services, organisations, and patient advocates to use.
“The ability for individual health services to adapt and customise the educational resources provided by the VCCC Alliance was really significant. That flexibility allowed us to craft a highly relevant session for our local community, and I can see real benefit for regional sites wanting to run their own clinical trial awareness sessions.”
– Lisa Bell, Grampians Health Clinical Trial Coordinator
and former SKILLED intern
New bespoke educational courses to support the cancer clinical trials sector were also developed and are now housed on the VCCC Alliance Centre for Cancer Education, including Business skills for clinical trial managers and Registry-based clinical trials, addressing key knowledge gaps in the sector.
Leaders collaborate across alliance
The VCCC Alliance model of Collaborative Leadership supports leadership in tumour streams and cross cutting themes that reach across organisational boundaries to collaborate, educate and improve outcomes for patients. Under the collaborative leadership program (formerly known as Distributed Leadership program), a range of activities and initiatives support faster implementation of new evidence into practice.
VCCC Alliance Research and Education (R&E) Leads and Academic Chairs represent breast, head and neck, brain, lung, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, gynaecological, skin cancers and sarcoma, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, primary care, regional oncology, cancer nursing, palliative care, translation, and implementation science.
Highlights of this busy and impactful program include progress in three cancers with poorer outcomes among patients – lung, brain and pancreatic.
- A groundbreaking $260 million National Lung Cancer Screening Program was announced by the Australian Government that will have a major impact on reducing the number of deaths from Australia’s biggest cancer killer for the whole population, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Associate Professor Gavin Wright, R&E Lead for Lung Cancer and Director of Surgical Oncology, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, played a key role in this through long-term advocacy, including an interest group facilitated through the alliance.
Associate Professor Gavin Wright.
- Professor Hui Gan, R&E Lead for Brain Cancer established a Brain Cancer Research Alliance including 11 key brain cancer researchers (clinicians and scientists) and collaborators from across the alliance to work together and drive the research agenda.
- Professor Peter Gibbs, R&E Lead for Gastrointestinal Cancer, initiated a project linking eight Victorian pancreatic cancer clinical registries, known as PURPLE – Pancreatic cancer: Understanding Routine Practice and Lifting End results – at Northern Health, Eastern Health, St Vincent’s Hospital, Austin Health, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Western Health, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Cabrini Health. This will provide comprehensive information on outcomes experienced by Victorian pancreatic cancer patients to inform optimal clinical care pathways. The Chief Investigator is Dr Belinda Lee, Medical Oncologist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Northern Health, and Clinical Researcher at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.
- Associate Professor Stephanie Best, dual VCCC Alliance and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Implementation Science Lead, completed a qualitative research project to align organisational priorities and implementation science in cancer.
- An overarching strategy document was delivered and an Implementation Science Collaboration Tool was developed to help researchers determine implementation needs.
Proof of concepts testing value-based care
The Value-Based Cancer Care program is undertaking four proof-of-concept tests that prioritise patient experience when diagnosing and delivering cancer care.
These projects focus on:
- Timely and efficient diagnosis
- Effective communication of complex treatment plans for patients
- Avoidable readmissions
- Statewide access to radiotherapy technologies
Highlights in this period
- Developing personalised cancer plans including for rectal cancer, as part of a research pilot at Western Health
- Exploring clinician attitudes towards risk prediction models in clinical practice
- A primary care research project investigating diagnostic pathway preferences of patients presenting to general practice
- Analysing data to determine the burden experienced by patients travelling to access radiotherapy.
A consumer-led research study
Elevating cancer patient values: The needs, preferences and values of Arabic-speaking people requiring professional interpreter services.
This project within the Value-Based Cancer Care Program at the VCCC Alliance took patient voice to the next level, establishing a diverse group of nine consumers in a Consumer-Led Research Group (CLRG) to prioritise research direction for a consumer-led project.
An educational framework was created to increase comprehension and understanding of value-based healthcare, research methodology and availability of health data.
The research group members determined that they would like their research to benefit patients who currently experience inequitable outcomes within the health system. This included culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) patients. Informed of the data challenges in identifying and researching CALD patients, the group discussed potential target populations and ultimately decided upon ‘CALD patients who require a professional interpreter in their appointments’.
Members of the CLRG and Professor Catherine Granger at the Researcher-facilitated workshop.
The group identified four target language groups (Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese and Vietnamese) as high growth and under-represented in research before seeking a bilingual researcher to run the project out of Victoria’s Western Health, a hospital network with one of the state’s most diverse patient populations. Following the recruitment of Dr Heidi Hassan, Arabic was selected as the target language.