Alfred Health’s pharmacy excellence in clinical trials is now being transferred into other Victorian hospitals thanks to a new initiative that will provide more cancer trials to regional and remote patients.
TrialHub was established at The Alfred last year to facilitate the equitable access to cancer clinical trials by partnering with outer metro, rural and regional hospitals to help them establish long-term, sustainable clinical trial units.
Trained clinical trial pharmacists, and an onsite clinical trial pharmacy, were among some of the gaps identified in partner hospitals, which led to the development of a new, specialised training program by Alfred Health Pharmacy.
Professor Michael Dooley, Director of Pharmacy, said the team has developed a unique training program that leverages the team’s education, research, innovation and pharmacy expertise.
“At any one time, Alfred Health can have around 300 clinical trials running across 14 disease disciplines and most of them have a medication component. Our team is quite unique because we not only have the clinical trial expertise, we also have a strong education and research skill-set as well. This combination means we’ve been able to develop a credentialing program that brings together evidenced based adult learn principles with contemporary service delivery that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else within pharmacy in the country,” he said.
The training program comprises interactive online practical learning, structured onsite observations, pharmacist coaching, formal credentialing and access to on-going support.
Bendigo Health and Latrobe Regional Hospital are already well into their training program, with other hospitals set to join the program soon.
“The feedback we’re getting from the pharmacists, and wider teams, is that they are getting a really structured training and credentialing program package. They have access to pharmacists with expertise in clinical trials as well as detailed standard operating procedures and processes, which makes things a lot easier for a hospital that is wishing to develop their capacity to undertake clinical trials,” he said.
“A pharmacy clinical trial credentialing program such as this doesn’t exist in Australia, we’re hopeful, and excited, that this will be adopted nationally as it is so translatable and addresses a barrier to clinical trials It will create consistency and collaborations across clinical trial pharmacy services ,” Professor Dooley added.
Director of Clinical Trials, TrialHub, Anne Woollett, said the completion of the pharmacy training program means these hospitals are one step closer to delivering clinical trials to patients who otherwise would’ve needed to travel to Melbourne.
“Not only is this great for patients, for staff it also means they can upskill in clinical trials without having to relocate to a city hospital.”
“Pharmacy is integral to clinical trials, and we are so fortunate that there is such a long-standing history, and wealth of expertise, in clinical trials here that we can transfer into regional Victorian hospitals,” Anne said.
Find out more about Alfred Health’s TrialHub initiative.