Dr Kannan Natarajan is a Consultant Geriatrician at the Cognitive Assessment & Management (CAM) Unit in The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH), Queensland, and their clinic recently joined the Australian Dementia Network (ADNeT) Registry. As the Clinical Lead for the TPCH Memory Clinic and site principal investigator for the Registry, Dr Natarajan shares his experiences of being involved with the ADNeT Registry and reflects on the opportunities he hopes it will bring in the future.
How did you find out about the ADNeT Registry and what motivated you to join the Registry?
My interest in the Swedish Dementia Registry inspired me to learn more about the ADNeT Registry. There are numerous registries for research but very few registries to assess clinical outcomes. In November 2017, I attended a meeting at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane where they discussed a national quality registry for dementia. After this, I was galvanised to address this gap and looked forward to being a part of a registry like ADNeT.
The benefits of the registry are that it is a quality improvement initiative, provides invaluable comparative information, establishes a benchmark for good clinical practice and guides adequate resource distribution.
How did you find the on-boarding process?
The process was excellent. The ADNeT Registry team provided comprehensive guidance on creating a local databank for the dementia network at TPCH and for the first time established the use of REDCap in our Metro North Hospital and Health Service.
We involved patient information systems, such as HBCIS (Hospital Based Corporate Information System) and Clinical Health Information Services team, who helped link patient demographics to the databank. The Internal Medicine and Dementia Research Unit (IMDRU) at our hospital has also been very supportive of the ADNeT Registry initiative.
The ADNeT team were very accessible which enabled us to progress through our project with ease. Ms Kerrie McAloney (ADNeT Registry Queensland State Coordinator) continues to support us after the on-boarding process and she is very responsive with any queries that my team might have with regard to the Registry.
What do you hope that the Registry can help you achieve?
I am hoping to get site specific data to see how our site performs and in comparison with other memory clinics. The broader benefits will be benchmarking our institution against the national standards. This will help us identify areas of needs and will guide appropriate resource allocation. With the changing profile of dementia management, I hope to explore better investigative tools and targeted treatment for people with dementia.
Further benefits of the Registry are that it can encourage patient engagement in research activities and empower clinicians to carefully consider the efficiency of their clinical practice.
What are your hopes for dementia diagnosis, treatment and care in the future?
My hopes are that there will be improved investigative tools such as effective blood tests (Phospho-tau), structural and MBS subsidised functional imaging. It is also incredibly important to research curative treatments that are evidence based for neuro-cognitive disorders which will enable enhanced quality of life to our patients.