NACCHO health news:New clinical web resource helping health practitioners to reduce Indigenous chronic disease

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The Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon Warren Snowden MP (pictured above) has  launched the Australian Indigenous ClinicallnfoNet – an innovative web resource designed to assist primary health care workers in the prevention and management of chronic disease among Indigenous people.
Photo caption: Launch of the Australian Indigenous ClinicalInfoNet at Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service Canberra 25th June 2013. L-R Kirsty Douglas Acting Senior Medical Officer (Winnunga), Kathy Ride (Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet), Julie Tongs (CEO Winnunga) and The Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon Warren Snowden MP. Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service (AHS) is an Aboriginal community controlled primary health care service operated by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community of the ACT.
The ClinicallnfoNet will enable doctors, nurses and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers to access quality-assured materials for the prevention, identification and management of five key chronic conditions – cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer.
Info net

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Health practitioners will now be able to freely access evidenced-based clinical guidelines, tools and patient education resources during patient consultations. The ClinicalInfoNet Project Manager, Kathy Ride, said ‘The resource will promote best practice in the prevention, identification and management of the chronic diseases that have major impacts on the health of Indigenous people. The web resource is still in the early stages, but, over time it will continue to develop and expand in terms of functionality and content.’

Previously, these materials were quite difficult to access from different websites, or were only available in hard-copy forms. This precluded real-time access and restricted their use by clinical health professionals.

The ClinicalInfoNet can be accessed via the Internet or through the PrimaryCare Sidebar®, currently available with patient management software Medical Director and Best Practice.

Edith Cowan University’s Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet is responsible for the successful transition of a pilot website to the ClinicalInfoNet, which has been undertaken in partnership with Hewlett-Packard Enterprises and Pen Computer Systems on behalf of the Australian Government’s Department of Health and Ageing.

The HealthInfoNet will encourage the promotion of the ClinicalInfoNet by working with organisations involved the delivery of primary health services to Indigenous people; these include NACCHO (National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation), its affiliates and member Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations, mainstream medical and related services, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine.

Professor Neil Thomson, HealthInfoNet Director said ‘I’m delighted we are extending our existing work in Indigenous health to address some of the specific needs of people working at the health “frontline”. The new web resource, which will be a great complement to the HealthInfoNet, acknowledges our contributions over almost 16 years in providing people working in Indigenous health with access to a wide range of information and knowledge. The materials available on the HealthInfoNet already make a major contribution to both the initial training and continuing professional development of people working in Indigenous health, but the new resource will address the real-time needs of people working in clinical areas’.

Addintional info

this free web resource will be for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers working with patients with chronic disease we appreciate your support in informing your members and staff.  Please find more details attached and below.

The Australian Indigenous ClinicalInfoNet (ClinicalInfoNet) will support primary health care workers – including doctors, nurses and Indigenous health workers – by providing online access to relevant, evidence-based, current and culturally appropriate information. It provides quick and easy access to a comprehensive collection of primary health-care support materials that can be used in the prevention, identification and management of chronic diseases in the Indigenous Australian population. All materials on the ClinicalInfoNet are selected for their relevance and quality, and have been approved for inclusion by a team of experts in Indigenous health and chronic disease. The ClinicalInfoNet provides a sophisticated search facility for accessing materials that can be used in ‘real time’ during consultations or for follow-up.

As you are aware, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience a burden of disease two-and-a-half times that of other Australians. A large part of the burden (about 80%) is due to chronic diseases. This burden can be reduced by prevention, early identification and improved management of risk factors and disease.

In managing chronic disease, primary health care professionals require access to a range of materials, such as patient education resources, management tools, guidelines and references. Extensive clinical resources are available on the Internet but they are infrequently used by primary health care workers due to lack of awareness, time limitation and poor access. A comprehensive web resource that identifies and brings together existing materials from a wide range of sources is the best solution.

The ClinicalInfoNet brings together resources relating to five key chronic diseases that are major contributors to the burden of disease among Indigenous people:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetes mellitus type 2
  • chronic respiratory disease
  • chronic kidney disease
  • cancer.

The resources available on the ClinicalInfoNet are selected for their application to patient management and include:

  • clinical guidelines and reference materials
  • clinical tools
  • patient education resources
  • administrative information.

These resources cover the areas of:

  • prevention
  • management
  • treatment
  • drug therapy.

The ClinicalInfoNet is a free web resource that does not require a login or subscription. It can be accessed directly at www.clinicalinfonet.net.au or via a search engine. The ClinicalInfoNet can be accessed by GPs and other primary health-care workers through the PrimaryCare Sidebar® which is linked to their patient management system software (currently available through Medical Director and Best Practice). The ClinicalInfoNet link is located in the Resources tab.

As part of its contribution to the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes agreement, the Australian Government committed to address the key barriers for Indigenous people accessing health care through mainstream services. The development of an online resource was seen as an important way of assisting primary health workers improve decision-making processes and inform them of their options relating to chronic disease prevention and management with Indigenous people. The current version of the ClinicalInfoNet has been informed by a pilot web resource that was developed by a consortium of experts. The development was assisted by a Technical Reference Group, which brought together a broad range of experts in Indigenous health, chronic disease management, primary health care, evidence-based management and clinical guidelines.

The web resource is developed and managed by the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet (AIH), which has a well established reputation for providing quality, evidence-based material to inform practice and policy through its web resource (www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au). The Technical Reference Group that guides the development of the ClinicalInfoNet comprises representatives from key groups and individuals involved in Indigenous primary health care, all of whom have expertise in chronic disease management. The ClinicalInfoNet is funded by the Australian Department of Health and Ageing.

If you would like more information please let me know.

Photo caption: Launch of the Australian Indigenous ClinicalInfoNet at Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service Canberra 25th June 2013. L-R Kirsty Douglas Acting Senior Medical Officer (Winnunga), Kathy Ride (Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet), Julie Tongs (CEO Winnunga) and The Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon Warren Snowden MP. Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service (AHS) is an Aboriginal community controlled primary health care service operated by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community of the ACT.

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