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Sydney Children's Hospital Network

  • Translational Research Grants Scheme
Date Funded:
  • 8 February, 2021
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Professor Raghu Lingam
  • Emma Dickins

Project summary

RuralKidsGPS: delivering care closer to home for rural children with complex health needs- evaluating impact, implementation and cost effectiveness.

What is the issue for NSW?

In NSW 500,000 children, 30% of the state’s total, live outside major cities. In total, 19% of Australian children have at least one chronic condition that affects their quality of life,3 equating to 95,000 children in rural NSW. Children with complex medical needs represent approximately 10% of patients attending children’s hospitals, but account for 60% of expenditure. Rural families have on average 20% less disposable income than families from urban areas and they have told us that they face additional disruption and costs; journeys are 8 times longer, children can miss 2 days of school and their parents/carers 2 days of work for simple appointments, not to mention the large costs of overnight stays for food and accommodation. These statistics highlight the urgent need to develop, evaluate and then roll out novel technology enabled models of care like RuralKidsGPS, that build capacity of families and support local healthcare providers.

What does the research aim to do and how?

Our project aims to upscale RuralKidsGPS, an integrated model of technology enabled care based on the SCHN Kids Guided Personalised Service (KidsGPS), co-developed and piloted for feasibility in Murrumbidgee. KidsGPS has demonstrated a 40% reduction in ED presentations and 42% reduction in day-only admissions over 2 years. Saving the health system $2.5million/annum and families >50,000km of travel. Evaluation of RuralKidsGPS will consist of an impact, implementation and economic evaluation embedded within a quasi-experimental trial across four rural sites: Murrumbidgee, Southern, Western and Northern New South Wales Local Health Districts.

The project will assess:

  1. Hospital utilisation (ED presentations, hospital admissions, and outpatient appointments), and associated costs.
  2. Parent reported satisfaction of care and wellbeing using the Paediatric Integrated Care Survey (PICS), and Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being scale (WEMWBS).
  3. Parent and child related quality of life will be assessed using the standardised EQ5D5L (parent) and parent reported Paediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL4.0 and CHU9D) (child).