The ON TRACK Network is a New Zealand-wide maternal and perinatal clinical trials network (CTN).
A CTN is a collaborative group of practicing clinician researchers who have come together to identify important clinical questions and design large multicentre clinical trials to answer them. By collaborating as part of the ON TRACK Network, New Zealand researchers can overcome many of the barriers and complexities of conducting randomised controlled clinical trials.
Geographical distribution across New Zealand’s healthcare system ensures that the ON TRACK Network:
- Supports clinical trials with strong external validity i.e. results are more likely to be broadly representative of New Zealand practice
- Can provide educational support and mentoring for New Zealand sites that do not routinely participate in clinical trials research
- Can maximise access to clinical trials research for all eligible New Zealand mothers and babies
CTNs such as ON TRACK also provide opportunity for identifying priority research questions in collaboration with all stakeholders including consumers, and for collective peer review and endorsement of trial proposals. This helps to ensure that trials supported are investigating meaningful clinical questions, that the trials are scientifically rigorous, and that there is enough engagement, capacity and feasibility to successfully complete the trials.
CTNs also facilitate more rapid translation of trial results into clinical practice because they have the engagement of practicing clinicians and healthcare professionals; those delivering the trials being more likely to translate trial findings into local practice for better care.
A study in Australia has also highlighted the significant economic gain to healthcare systems of investigator-led clinical trials conducted within the context of a CTN such as the ON TRACK Network.