Flinders collaborates to improve home health care

CPIE Pharmacy Services General Manager Andrew Sluggett with Flinders Professor Karen Reynolds
CPIE Pharmacy Services General Manager Andrew Sluggett with Flinders Professor Karen Reynolds

Flinders University’s Medical Device Research Institute (MDRI) has just received a $500,000 grant from the State Government to help improve the State’s Hospital in the Home (HITH) service, which provides home-based treatments to patients who would otherwise require hospital care.

A core function of the service specialises in the delivery of therapeutics such as chemotherapy, antibiotics, postoperative pain relief and chronic pain medication using a variety of drug infusion devices.

With demand for the HITH service increasing as a result of an ageing population and a growing preference by patients to be treated at home, the $500,000 grant will enable the MDRI to optimise the safety and efficacy of HITH infusion therapy, and to design and develop new drug delivery systems, in the overall aim of improving patient care and outcomes in the home.

Awarded by the Premier’s Research and Industry Fund Collaboration Pathways Program, the collaborative grant will involve input from CPIE Pharmacy Services, the University of South Australia, SA Health, and the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Project leader and MDRI Director, Professor Karen Reynolds, said the collaboration will bring together multiple partners to tap into diverse areas of expertise.

“We have engineers and researchers who bring medical device development knowledge, a pharmaceutical company who brings pharmacy and commercial knowledge and hospital groups providing access to specialist equipment and clinical expertise,” Professor Reynolds said.

“As well as improving patient outcomes, the side benefit of the project is that it will likely result in new devices being manufactured, requiring input from technology partners, manufacturers and spin out companies, as well as attracting new companies to South Australia,” she said.

Professor Reynolds said the project also has relevance to areas of potential manufacturing including devices, pharmaceuticals, biomaterials, sensing technologies and telemedicine.

This project stems from a previous collaboration between Flinders University and CPIE Pharmacy Services. Funded by the State Government in 2012, the Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) at Flinders University undertook a 250 hour research and development project for CPIE to evaluate existing infusion technologies.

CPIE Pharmacy Services General Manager Andrew Sluggett said the earlier MDPP project allowed CPIE to establish a relationship with researchers from the University and “build mutual understanding that the two partners were able to work together to create value”.

“This relationship building proved extremely beneficial, and is ultimately what led to us receiving the State Government’s Collaboration Pathways grant,” Mr Sluggett said.

The Premier’s Research and Industry Fund Collaboration Pathways Program encourages investment in key science and research areas that have the potential to generate significant economic, social and/or environmental benefits for the State.

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