Clinical chair collaboration works towards better quality care

Two international high-profile researchers have recently joined the Caring Futures Institute at Flinders University to help enhance the quality of care in two vital areas of health.

Flinders University and The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) have co-funded the appointment of Dr Jeroen Hendriks and Dr Annette Briley.

Dr Hendriks joins Flinders as the Leo J Maher Cardiovascular Nursing Chair, the first academic cardiac nursing role to be established in South Australia. The role is named in honour of the longest serving director of cardiology at the RAH, Dr Leo Mahar.

Dr Briley is the incoming Professor of Midwifery at the Lyell McEwin Hospital (LMH). Both Hendriks and Dr Briley will lead research under the Caring Futures Institute’s ‘Better Care’ theme.

Dr Hendriks’ research focuses one integrated care management in atrial fibrillation (AF) and related cardiovascular conditions.

Dr Briley’s work provides evidence-based support for maternity care and midwifery in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

The collaboration between Flinders, the THRF, the Central Adelaide Local Health Network – RAH, and Northern Adelaide Local Health Network – LMH, aims to foster a collaborative and vital research culture between the university and health care providers, and the implementation of evidence-based care models.

THRF CEO Paul Flynn says providing better health care and outcomes for all South Australians is only possible with collaborations between industries.

“THRF is committed to fighting for all Australians. “The appointment of these two global leaders will enhance the quality of care in two vital areas of healthcare, supported by world-class research for the benefit of patients and their families,” Mr Flynn says.

Dr Hendriks aims to develop a collaborative of academic and clinical excellence between Flinders and the Central Adelaide Local Health Network by undertaking strategic research in the clinical setting and implementing novel models of care delivery.

Initially, he will develop a rapid access, specialised atrial fibrillation clinic at the RAH (iCare-AF Clinic), based on the concept of integrated care, as recommended by the European and Australian guidelines for the management of AF.

The approach is based on four pillars; a patient-centred approach with an active role for the patient in the care process, a multidisciplinary team providing care in collaboration with the patient with important roles for nurses and allied health professionals, eHealth to support the integrated approach and the use of smart technology to support decision making, and lastly, comprehensive treatment.

“Once established, such approach has the potential to use our resources more efficiently, provide optimal evidence-based care, improve clinical and patient outcomes and reduce the burden on the health care system,” Dr Hendriks says.

In line with this, Dr Hendriks is the Principal Investigator for the iCare-AF trial, conducted in collaboration with the Centre for Heart Rhythm Disorders at the University of Adelaide to determine the effectiveness of integrated care management in AF patients.

Dr Briley relocated from the UK where she was Consultant Midwife and Clinical Trials Manager at King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

She has been involved in research for more than 20 years working on single and multi-centre, local and national and international clinical trials in many areas of importance to pregnant women and their babies.

Dr Briley aims to develop a research culture between the University and health care providers that rigorously addresses the issues relevant to the local community and provides the evidence to improve care for women and their babies in Adelaide and beyond.

“I aim to support midwives and other health care professionals to engage with research at various levels and build on existing knowledge to empower them to provide evidence-based care,” she says.

“Developing local, national and international collaborations will ensure that Flinders and LMH are at the forefront of research in reproductive health and childbirth.”

Dr Briley will also play an integral role in developing clinical academic career pathways for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals, in turn creating “clinical experts with sound academic credentials”.

“I am looking forward to working together to improve care for women and babies and inspire teams working in both clinical and academic areas,” she says.

“As a midwife, I can influence the health and wellbeing of a woman and her baby, one at a time. As a research midwife, I have the potential to improve the care of a generation.”

Northern Adelaide Local Health Network Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Andrew McGill, said the network was looking forward to working with Dr Briley.

“Our maternity services have continued to expand over the years as more and more younger families are calling the northern suburbs home, and we are now the second busiest birthing hospital in the state,” he says.

“We are excited to have Dr Briley build capacity for our services and help us deliver world-best care to our women and families.”

For more information on Dr Hendriks’ and Dr Birley’s backgrounds, read the Caring Futures Institute blog story here.

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