Dr Helena Williams, RDNS South Australian Medical Director, will represent Silver Chain Group and work alongside world health researchers, including the University of South Australia, on a study to improve the health and wellbeing of aged care recipients.

The research team will analyse big data and interpret patient experiences, including variation in access to, and types of care. The findings will potentially inform changes in policy and service delivery, with the aim of ultimately improving Australians’ access to health care services, outcomes, as well as the effectiveness and costs of services.

As a result, the research may find that older people who have participated with their GP and care team in a chronic disease management plan or case conference, are less likely to go to hospital or be admitted to residential care, less likely to need to call an ambulance or more likely to live longer.

Funded by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Primary Health Care Research Grant, the study will produce insights with the aim of informing future policy recommendations that will shape, define and inform best care for aged care recipients.

Led by Professor Maria Inacio from the Registry of Senior Australians, the multidisciplinary research team includes established aged care and translational research leaders with primary health care experience.

As a Chief Investigator, Dr Williams will assist in interpreting data from primary health care delivery to the aged, contribute to subsequent policy development recommendations and provide guidance and understanding of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) items in the primary care space.

“I am honoured to be part of a team who reaffirm Australia’s reputation as a world leader in medical research. The outcomes from this project will potentially influence policy development and the way we plan and deliver care into the future,” said Dr Williams.

“This study might also lead to setting up systems and processes more broadly at Silver Chain Group, for example building a structured approach to case conferencing for all our elderly patients.”

Silver Chain Group has a proud tradition of research going back many years and recently appointed Professor Anna Barker, to further strengthen its research contribution in the primary, community and home hospital space.

The four-year project will be carried out at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, under the auspices of the National Health and Medical Research Council, accredited as Health Translation SA.