South Auckland Clinical Campus

Integrated Care Research Group

The Integrated Care Research Group is a multidisciplinary research group led by Professor Harry Rea and Associate Professor Tim Kenealy in collaboration with senior lecturers from the University of Auckland School of Nursing, clinicians from Counties Manukau District Health Board, Primary health care nurse specialists, Primary Health Organisations and community representatives.

The group is under the aegis of the University of Auckland's Department of Medicine.


The Group’s health services research focuses on:

  • Innovation
  • Trials of task transfer/delegation
  • Workforce development
  • Review, development, improvement and continual assessment of interface processes between community and hospital
  • Development of new training courses and assessment processes
  • New employment models 
  • Behaviour change 
  • Evaluation
  • Participatory action research.


Coaching assisted strength training programme for Pacific men with diabetes

Within New Zealand, there are 170,000 people with diabetes. Pacific people are particularly affected in terms of morbidity and mortality. This research seeks to evaluate through a feasibility study, the impact of a personal trainer supported 6-month gym based resistance exercise programme for Pacific men versus green card prescription on adherence, insulin sensitivity, costs and satisfaction. This innovative study will explore a previously unused role in chronic disease management as well as develop our understanding of resistance exercise and insulin sensitivity.

A feasibility trial of GrandStand© and vibration training in frail older people

Frailty in later age confers higher rates of mortality and morbidity. This research aims to explore the impact of two innovative interventions which may influence treatment for frail older people: GrandStand© measures sit-to-stand repetitions and provides visual feedback for the patient and family to ensure that rehabilitation continues seven days a week. Vibration training has been demonstrated to improve muscle mass with athletes but has never been trialled with older people in in-patient environments. We aim to determine the safety of such interventions and explore the impact on physical function and quality of life.

Very high intensive users of Middlemore Emergency Department - randomised control trial of integrated care

Adult patients who are very high intensity users of hospital emergency departments (VHIU) have complex medical and psychosocial needs. In 2009 Counties Manukau DHB approved a business case for a programme designed to improve the care of VHIU patients identified at Middlemore Hospital. The model of care includes medical and social review, a multidisciplinary planning approach with a designated 'navigator' and assertive follow-up, self and family management, and involvement of community-based organisations, primary care and secondary care. Read more about the study.

National shared care plan pilot for long term conditions

A shared care plan is a structured, comprehensive plan developed by the patient and their family/carer and health professionals in order to facilitate a collaborative style of care. The Programme, sponsored by the National Health IT Board and Auckland Regional District Health Boards, will trial electronic shared care planning for people with long-term conditions. This will improve communication and coordination and optimise patient management thereby reducing complications and improving outcomes and quality of life.

Application of Self-management Systems Evaluation Trial (ASSET)

ASSET is a multi-centre study designed as a 'proof of concept' pilot for a randomised controlled trial of telecare. Telecare combines self-monitoring using equipment that has been installed in the patient's home with remote 'backup' monitoring by health professionals. The aim of ASSET is to see if the combined use of telecare and usual care will improve health for people with chronic conditions, reduce health inequalities, reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and reduce use of health resources.

Pacific people’s use of primary care - who is missing out?

The aim of this research was to examine current primary care trends and use by Pacific peoples, through two perspectives – the perspective of the health system and a Pacific consumers’ perspective. This approach identified more effective ways to improve Pacific peoples’ access to and utilisation of primary care. Read more about this research in the following publications:

Clinical networks to improve quality of care and integration between primary and secondary care