Towards greater value in cancer care
A new Centre of Research Excellence in value-based payments in cancer care is among five UTS projects to receive backing in the latest round of NHMRC grants.
A new Centre of Research Excellence in value-based payments in cancer care is among five UTS projects to receive backing in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants announced by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt.
UTS Business School’s Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation (CHERE) received $2.5 million for the new centre, which is a collaborative initiative with UNSW, the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne, and health service organisations including the NSW Cancer Council and Cancer Council Australia.
It was one of five UTS projects funded by the NHMRC to commence in 2019-20, worth a total $6.5 million. Other projects include research on the prevention and treatment of respiratory diseases, including severe asthma, and new ways to diagnose and monitor blood clots.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research) Professor Kate McGrath congratulated all the recipients on their NHMRC funding success.
“These are very competitive grants and UTS researchers have been recognised for their outstanding ability and dedication to improve health outcomes and transform society through connected research and innovative collaborations,” says Professor McGrath.
The new CRE will bring together a team of highly credentialed researchers, led by UTS Associate Professor Kees Van Gool, Distinguished Professor Jane Hall, Dr Philip Haywood, Dr Serena Yu and Associate Professor Richard De Abreu Lourenco to lay the foundations for future, evidence-based, cancer care reforms in Australia.
Cancer patients currently face a confusing array of public and private providers across multiple healthcare sectors.
Associate Professor Kees Van Gool
Associate Professor Van Gool says cancer patients currently face a confusing array of public and private providers across multiple healthcare sectors, including primary, acute and follow up care, and they are often left with high out-of-pocket costs.
“This is where our current ways of financing really break down, because healthcare providers are paid on a fee for service basis, and nobody gets rewarded for a multidisciplinary, coordinated approach to providing comprehensive cancer care,” Associate Professor Van Gool says.
“Several countries have introduced value-based payment systems to give greater flexibility to institutions to deliver the care patients need. Evidence on these reforms, while limited, shows improved health care quality, financial savings and increased patient satisfaction,” he says.
One type of payment system showing promise is ‘bundled payments'. Under bundled payments a series of health care services are bundled together to form an “episode of care” that can span over time and across multiple health care sectors and providers.
Professor Hall says the CRE will be transformative, because it will help change thinking about how we pay for healthcare.
“One in two Australians will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85, and around 145,000 new diagnoses are made each year, so this is an issue that touches everyone.
“We will use extensive data and rigorous economic analysis to develop strong, evidence-based solutions to improve the payment and delivery of cancer care,” she says.
The Centre will include a visiting fellow program to draw on the experience of other countries, and bring in world leading experts to share their knowledge. It will build collaborations across healthcare organisations, and develop early and mid-career researchers.
Other recipients in the latest round of NHMRC funding include:
UTS Chair of Inflammation, Professor Philip Hansbro, who received two grants to develop and trial effective treatments for respiratory diseases including emphysema, severe asthma and lung cancer.
David Currow, UTS Professor of Palliative Medicine at ImPACCT (Improving Palliative, Aged and Chronic Care through Clinical Research and Translation) received a NHMRC-EU Collaborative Research Grant to examine better treatments for breathlessness in palliative and end of life care. Professor Currow is also an Associate Investigator with the new CRE in value-based payments in cancer care.
Postdoctoral Research Associate Dr Qian Su from the UTS Institute for Biomedical Materials and Devices, was awarded funding to deliver new methodologies for characterising, identifying and monitoring thrombotic disease, via cutting edge imaging techniques.