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Improving care for people with chronic conditions

22 December 2006

Improving care for people with chronic conditions through new research fund

Chronic conditions are responsible for the majority of all deaths in New Zealand and account for approximately 70 per cent of health care expenditure.

A new research project led by Professor Martin Connolly at the University of Auckland will seek to gain a greater understanding of the range of approaches currently available in New Zealand for preventing, managing and delaying the progression of chronic conditions, and more importantly, those which are successful examples of ‘best practice’.

The project ($0.54M) is the first to be funded through the District Health Board Research Fund (a total of $6.2M), which is managed by the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) in partnership with the 21 District Health Boards (DHBs).

The objective of the Fund is to commission research that addresses key knowledge gaps for DHBs and supports and promotes the translation of research into clinical practice.

The research team will identify funding and service activities and models which deliver the most successful outcomes for people with long-term chronic conditions, particularly in the areas of cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“I am really excited about the research fund, and in particular this research project, which has the potential to contribute to improved health service delivery,” says Mr Chris Clarke, CEO of Hawkes Bay DHB and Chair of the District Health Board Research Fund Governance Group

The research process will require considerable involvement of DHBs around New Zealand. This involvement is essential for the research to have national utility and for the effective translation of research findings into evidence based health services for improved health outcomes, the philosophy behind the establishment of the District Health Board Research Fund.

Professor Harry Rea, chair of the Chronic Care Steering Committee sees one of the key benefits of this research as the sharing of knowledge between DHBs.

“The research process will increase national knowledge and information sharing and enhancing District Health Board coordination in terms of chronic care management programmes,” he says.


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