Indigenous healthcare resources at the point of care

The team behind the Indigenous HealthInfoNet web resource has recently launched ClinicalInfoNet, a web portal aimed at clinicians to assist them in the prevention and management of chronic disease among indigenous people.

The resource is available for all primary and allied healthcare clinicians online or from within the PrimaryCareSidebar tool in Medical Director and Best Practice. The resources cover cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease and chronic respiratory disease.

ClinicalInfoNet project manager Kathy Ride said it was targeted mainly at GPs and primary healthcare workers, practice nurses, indigenous healthcare workers and allied health professionals and is designed to be used at the point of care, such as during a patient consultation.

Clinicians can freely access evidence-based clinical guidelines, tools and patient education resources during patient consultations, all from one website and in real time.

The site allows clinicians to do an easy search for types of publications and treatment pathways depending on the chronic disease without having to wade through several different websites. All of the publications and tools are evidence-based and have been approved by an external panel of experts in indigenous health and/or chronic disease, Ms Ride said.

“Everybody is time-poor and this is just speeding up the process for them,” she said. “It's like doing a Google search but you have done the first couple of layers and you know that what you get in your search here is all relevant.

“The materials on there are selected for their use in a clinical situation, for example during a patient consultation. The publications on ClinicalInfoNet are all approved by a group of external experts in indigenous health,chronic disease and patient management, whereas with the HealthInfoNet there is a lot of what is called 'grey' literature on there. It is all quality controlled on ClinicalInfoNet.”

She said more publications would be added to the site over time, and that options were being explored to broaden access through clinician software.

"The PrimaryCareSidebar is currently compatible with Best Practice and Medical Director, but we are fully aware that Communicare and MMEx are two other systems that are widely used in indigenous health and we are already in the process of looking at upgrading the Sidebar to have connectivity to those two,” she said.

She also encouraged allied health practitioners to take advantage of the resources. “Many of these chronic diseases have a wider impact,” she said. “For example, with diabetes people have foot problems, so podiatrists would find a lot of useful information in it.

“We also have a lot of publications on there that relate to lifestyle factors, which are very important in prevention and management of these chronic conditions, so for dietitians and exercise physiologists, there is materials on there that relate to the work they do.”

ClinicalInfoNet has been developed by Edith Cowan University with funding from the Department of Health and Ageing. The ECU team also manages the Indigenous HealthInfoNet.

HealthInfoNet director Neil Thomson said the new resource will complement the current work of the HealthInfoNet. “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,” Professor Thomson said.

“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.”

Ms Ride will be discussing the resource at the Indigenous Informatics Conference, being held in Adelaide next week as part of the Health Informatics Conference (HIC 2013).

Posted in Allied Health

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