New Zealand’s Maternal & Perinatal Clinical Trials Network
The ON TRACK Network is a national clinical trials network (CTN) that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of New Zealand mothers and babies. We connect with people from across the country who are interested in clinical trials research including midwives, obstetricians, neonatologists, nurses, researchers, hospital managers, funding agencies, policy-makers and consumers – all with a shared interest in achieving better health for mothers and babies.
Our mission is to engage with and energise research in the maternal and perinatal health community to optimise health for pregnant women and their babies in New Zealand. The Network will champion the identification of priority research questions, capacity-build to allow the integration of high-quality, sustainable clinical trials into routine clinical practice and facilitate the dissemination and implementation of research findings into clinical practice in all regions across New Zealand.
Our vision is to see a self-improving maternal and perinatal healthcare system effective in New Zealand where clinical trials research becomes a core component of service provision to achieve greater equity, outcomes, and quality of life for women and babies nationwide.
As a Network we strive for:
- Excellence and innovation “Whaia te iti kahurangi”
- Collaboration and cooperation “Naku te rourou, nau te rourou”
- Respect “Awhi mai, awhi atu”
- New Zealand focus “Aronga Aotearoa”
- Inclusivity and support “He waka eke noa”
- Sustainability and future investment “Hutia te rito te harakeke”
- Accountability “I runga te tika, te pono”
The ON TRACK Network was established in 2016 following a nationwide multidisciplinary feasibility study. It is currently funded by a University of Auckland Strategic Research Initiatives Fund five-year grant and is overseen by a National Executive Committee. This committee is representative of the disciplines within maternal and perinatal health and the geographical areas of New Zealand and includes consumer representation (find out more in ‘who we are‘). To date, 18 of 20 District Health Boards are committed to the Network with nominated Site Network Leaders.
The Network focuses on three strategic pillars as detailed in our Strategic Plan:
- Identify priority research questions for New Zealanders in maternal and perinatal health.
- Facilitate the establishment and effective integration of multicentre clinical trials in maternal and perinatal health at all New Zealand sites.
- Facilitate the dissemination and timely implementation of research into clinical practice to raise the profile of evidence-based practice, increase the knowledge-base of local practitioners and enhance the quality of care received by women and babies nationwide.
We perform the following core activities:
- Connect people to facilitate the design and set up of clinical trials recruiting mothers and babies across New Zealand hospitals and birthing units.
- Host annual Clinical Trial Development workshops to help transform trial ideas into clinical trial protocols suitable for funding applications.
- Encourage and support hospitals and birthing units that have never been involved with research to come on board with New Zealand clinical trials recruiting mothers and babies.
- Promote recruitment of mothers and babies to actively recruiting New Zealand clinical trials to help them succeed with reaching the number of participants they need.
- Coordinate the Forum for Women & Whānau to help ensure that the activities and clinical trials supported by the ON TRACK Network remain highly relevant, focused and cohesive.
- Publish monthly newsletters for healthcare professionals and researchers nation-wide covering clinical trials news, publications, opportunities, update your practice pieces and guideline developments.
- Publish quarterly Forum for Women & Whānau newsletters to encourage consumer engagement with the Forum, Network activities and clinical trials research.
- Provide educational site visits across New Zealand to facilitate continual learning, for energising clinical trials research and updating best clinical practice across all hospitals and birthing units.
- Attend national and international conferences to promote New Zealand clinical trials research for better health of mothers and babies and to share learnings and enhance collaboration.
Alongside performing our core activities, each year we identify with our National Executive Committee and with agreement from our Steering Group, specific objectives to ensure we are meeting key performance indicators set out in our Network’s strategic plan.
Our 2019 objectives were to:
- Enhance site engagement by implementing national Educational Site Visits.
- Design a New Zealand specific Research Prioritisation Project for New Zealand mothers and babies.
- Establish a Network Consumer Forum.
Our 2020 objectives are:
- Start the activity part of our national Research Prioritisation Project. This important New Zealand specific research priority setting project will bring together clinicians, researchers, healthcare providers, mothers and whānau, and other stakeholders to identify what research for New Zealand mothers and babies urgently needs doing to inform future clinical trials. One of the first steps is to identify what we do not know yet concerning the best care for New Zealand mothers and babies. These are called knowledge gaps which are gaps in our understanding that need to be filled by new research. Collection of knowledge gaps is now taking place across the country over a 3-month period.
- To prepare a project exploring the barriers and enablers to participation in clinical trials research by New Zealand hospitals and birthing units with the objective of being able to find solutions to enable all New Zealand sites to participate in clinical trials research.
- Advocate in consultation with members of our Forum for Women & Whānau on policy and guideline development to ensure clinical trials research is being translated into clinical practice for consistently better outcomes for all mothers and babies across the entire country.