WSLHD announces new research unit in conjunction with UNSW, focused on developing state-of-the-art healthcare models

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) is now home to a pioneering research and innovation facility following the establishment of the Health Services Research Unit (HSRU) in collaboration with the University of New South Wales (UNSW). 

This research unit will be a hub for the development of modern and bespoke models of care for the district’s facilities and services.

WSLHD Chief Executive Graeme Loy says that the establishment of the HSRU in conjunction with UNSW, a globally renowned tertiary institution, cements Western Sydney’s place at the forefront of meaningful and tangible investments in healthcare.

“By defining this research body and investing in this new development, WSLHD is providing space for researchers and clinicians to develop their projects under expert guidance and collaboration with university students and industry leaders,” he said.

“We will also be shining a spotlight on our esteemed group of local experts and their outstanding work. Across Western Sydney Local Health District alone we already have 2,000 active research projects underway. 

“With the world class technology available at the Westmead Health Precinct and the brilliant minds we are nurturing here, I am looking forward to seeing life-changing ideas brought to life at WSLHD.”

The research unit will be located within Westmead Hospital, part of the Westmead Health Precinct – an ecosystem of researchers and innovators, and one of the largest health and innovation training hubs in Australia. 

The HSRU will comprise of several different groups within the unit, including data and analytics, biostatistics and epidemiology, research domain specialists and academic experts.

Three projects already slated to fall under the HSRU include the inTouch Urgent Care program, conceptualisation for care models of service delivery at the Rouse Hill Hospital development, and quality improvement and assessment processes for service development.

The inTouch Urgent Care Service was pioneered by Western Sydney Local Health District during the COVID-19 pandemic to meet the needs of patients by using technology to traverse barriers created by distance and the inability to provide face to face care.

“The HSRU enshrines the thinking with which WSLHD was able to innovate and adapt during the pandemic to new ways of thinking, creating a space for proactive work for public health concerns,” Graeme said.

Interim Dean of UNSW Medicine & Health Professor Adrienne Torda said UNSW was thrilled to be collaborating with the WSLHD to investigate innovative strategies for improving health systems and services for the people in Western Sydney.

“The Health Services Research Unit will search for and implement new ways for organising, managing and evaluating health systems and services that reflect best practice and the dynamically evolving environment post the COVID pandemic,” Prof. Torda said.

“During the pandemic, the WSLHD made important changes, including increased use of telehealth, remote care technologies and expanding the use of non-admitted care for acute illness. The new unit will examine the impact of innovations, opportunities for further improvements and upskilling of health professionals to enhance patient care.”

This unit will sit inside the WSL HD Research and Education Network, bolstering an already substantial workforce investment in innovation.

Rigorous evaluation and reporting systems will also be established with performance measures and progress reports thoroughly developed.