HCF RESEARCH FOUNDATION YEAR IN REVIEW 2020 MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
This year the HCF Research Foundation reached a significant milestone as it celebrated 20 years of contributions to research aimed at improving the delivery of healthcare for the benefit of all Australians. The Foundation remains a driving force for research teams focused on health services research, an area that hasn’t typically received significant research funding in the past, yet can make a profound difference. The Foundation is proud to fund this important area of research which aligns with HCF’s vision to ensure healthcare is understandable, affordable, high quality and member-centric.
Our focus on health services research means we are a natural fit to sponsor the Health Services Research Association of Australia and New Zealand (HSRAANZ), and its biennial conference. Our strategic alignment aims to empower the health services research community to promote and translate their valuable research findings.
This year at the conference we showcased four noteworthy research projects funded by the HCF Research Foundation:
- Professor Brett Mitchell demonstrated the effectiveness and cost-benefit of an inexpensive intervention prior to catheter insertion to reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs). Catheter-associated UTIs are the most prevalent of all hospital-acquired UTIs in Australia, accounting for 80% hospital-acquired UTIs, affecting 16,000 people per annum.
- Professor Christopher Pearce developed an admission risk calculator for general practitioners based on machine learning that demonstrated 75% accuracy in predicting a patient’s risk of attending a hospital emergency department within 30 days of attending the GP clinic. The decision support tool provides GPs crucial information at the time of consultation.
- Dr Isuru Ranasinghe uncovered at least 8% of patients undergoing a defibrillator or pacemaker insertion experienced a major complication – such as infection or lung collapse – and that significant variation existed across hospitals after risk standardisation from a rate of 5.4% through to 14.3% – a one in seven major complication rate.
- Associate Professor Jill Newby presented online courses to assist new mums to cope with anxiety and depression during the perinatal period. The randomised control trial showed significant improvements in mental health status for women who participated in the MUMentum programs.
We continued to invest in our cornerstone Health Services Research Grants program to ensure researchers can access funding to identify and address gaps in the delivery of health services. In 2019–20 the Foundation funded an additional eight research teams to develop new healthcare models that encourage the right care in the right setting, and to fund research projects that provide solutions to reduce known healthcare variation in hospital treatments.
Our nine-year partnership with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has seen more than $1 million in GP-led research projects. This year we are excited to announce an additional four projects to address healthcare issues experienced by GPs and their patients:
- Dr Danielle Butler – the effect of COVID-19 and the introduction of temporary telehealth items for GP services.
- Professor Danielle Mazza – prioritising essential clinical services in general practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Dr Katrina Giskes – atrial fibrillation treatment, recommendations, electronic decision support and screening.
- Professor Simon Willcock – transition from acute to primary healthcare for early colorectal cancer survivors.
During the year, the Foundation reviewed our strategy, with the aim of improving the impact of the research we fund. The Foundation is currently looking to expand our research programs and provide you with additional funding opportunities across some exciting new research streams.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Research Advisory Committee, HCF management and the HCF Foundation Board for their support and hard work during a difficult year. I want to acknowledge the extensive contribution of Board members Professor Helen Lapsley and Liz Rummery who finished in December.
Their guidance ensured the Foundation continues to facilitate important, impactful and high-quality health service research. I also wish to thank Wayne Adams, Foundation Manager, for his contribution. Wayne leaves the Foundation in August and we acknowledge his impact and wish him all the best for the future.
Chair, HCF Research Foundation
Board of directors
Full information and bios of our HCF Foundation Board of Directors.
History of the Foundation
The HCF Research Foundation was established in 2000 as The HCF Health and Medical Research Foundation to fund health and medical research for the benefit of all Australians. In 2008 the focus was moved towards health services research, an area of research which does not receive large funding dollars from other sources. In 2013 the name was simplified to HCF Research Foundation and in 2015 a Corporate Trustee was established to manage the Foundation’s affairs. The HCF Research Foundation was originally established with a donation from The Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia Limited (HCF). While HCF has donated money, the HCF Research Foundation operates independently and with specific focus on funding health services research that can benefit all 23 million Australians.
Health services research examines how people get access to health care, how much health care costs, and what happens to patients as a result of this care. The objectives of the HCF Research Foundation’s health services research program are to improve the prevention, treatment and cure of diseases in the general community by funding research and study proposals that enhance and utilise current knowledge to improve health and health services; and improve the quality, efficiency, access to and equity of provision of health services.
The HCF Research Foundation’s research program therefore addresses the main dimensions of the health system that are of concern to HCF, the HCF Research Foundation and the community at large: achieving better health outcomes and access to affordable, high quality health care when and where needed.
Mission & vision
The HCF Research Foundation’s mission is to improve the delivery of health services in Australia for the benefit of all Australians. We do this by funding research projects that focus on new ways to provide high quality care to improve patient outcomes.
To be known as a leading independent funder of high quality research that leads to the improvement of health care services for all Australians.
To facilitate easy-to-access funding so researchers can focus their efforts on delivering the benefits of their research projects.
To drive more research by providing transparent and fair funding opportunities for all Australian researchers, institutions and organisations.
HCF funded the corpus of the Foundation by donation from the net surplus of the health fund. Since the Foundation’s inception, HCF has made contributions to the Foundation of $50 million.
Media releases in relation to our HCF Foundation work.
Year in Review
Our recent projects and research outcomes in the HCF Research Foundation Year in Review.