Health news


NSQHS STANDARDS – Literature searches to aid best practice

If you’re looking for evidence to support best practice, have a look at these live literature searches. They provide up to date results for 12 topics aligned to the Australian National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (NSQHS) Standards. The searches focus on the hospital setting, and are available in four categories: last 5 years; broad, Australian only and reviews. They aim to provide high specificity (relevance) so that results returned will be of immediate use. Topics include: Recognising and responding to acute deterioration; Blood management; Communicating for safety; Comprehensive care; Preventing and controlling healthcare-associated infections; Medication safety and Partnering with consumers.

Applications are now open for the 2022 HNE Improvement Grant Program (IGP) and the HNE Clinical and Health Service Research Fellowship Scheme (CHSRFS)

The 2022 HNE Clinical and Health Service Research Fellowship Scheme (CHSRFS) is currently open and eligible HNE staff are encouraged to apply before applications close 5pm 28th February 2022. CHSRFS is a capacity building program that seeks to support established and emerging researchers/improvement professionals to become the research and improvement leaders of the future. There is one fellowship on offer for the current round of funding.

The 2022 HNE Improvement Grant Program (IGP) is currently open with all HNE staff eligible to apply before applications close 5pm 28th March 2022. Grants are explicitly focused on the translation of existing evidence/guideline recommendations into sustainable routine care delivery practice. As such, funding will not support research (knowledge generation) initiatives.

Hematology Practice Changing Update

This recent UpToDate Practice Changing Update recommends CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor-T cell therapy using lisocabtagene maraleucel or axicabtagene ciloleucel, rather than autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation for patients with early first relapse of diffuse large B cell lymphoma or primary refractory disease.

The evidence is rated Grade 1B. A Grade 1B recommendation is a strong recommendation, and applies to most patients. Clinicians should follow a strong recommendation unless a clear and compelling rationale for an alternative approach is present.

Find out more about UpToDate Practice Changing Updates…

Living Evidence - Rapid testing

The Agency for Clinical Innovation (COVID-19 Critical Intelligence Unit) has created new resources to assist understanding of rapid testing. They cover test types, test samples, and policy. Living evidence tables provide high level summaries of key studies and evidence on a particular topic, and links to sources. They are reviewed regularly and updated as new evidence and information is published. (Please note the last update was 2nd December 2021 – so some policy information may no longer be current.) If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you’ll find links to further COVID-CIU Living Evidence resources.

HealthStats NSW has relaunched

HealthStats NSW is your go-to public website, bringing together data from many sources to produce statistical information about the health of the NSW population.

The website has recently undergone major enhancements to increase functionality. Users can:
  • explore multiple health topics, sources, and demographics, using visualisation tools to combine and filter data and graphics
  • select indicators to produce tailored reports that provide insights into a wide range of health determinants and outcomes
  • improve monitoring, planning and policy activities with readily accessible population health statistics and analysis
Go to HealthStats NSW...

Latest update on Omicron from WHO

On 26 November 2021, WHO designated the variant B.1.1.529 a variant of concern, named Omicron, on the advice of WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE). This decision was based on the evidence presented to the TAG-VE that Omicron has several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaves, for example, on how easily it spreads or the severity of illness it causes.
Here is a summary of what is currently known...

NEW: Implementation Science Resource Directory

With an increasing focus by health services, government and funding bodies on implementing evidence into practice and policy, Melbourne Academic Centre for Health (MACH) has developed a free online directory of implementation science tools and resources for students, clinicians and researchers to make it easier to find resources that support efforts to improve routine practice and care.

The new MACH Implementation Science Resource Directory conveniently brings together diverse digital tools and resources into a central location to support health implementation efforts by beginners and experts.

Clinical care of children and adolescents with COVID-19: recommendations from the National Covid-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce

The epidemiology and clinical manifestations of SARS-CoV-2 infection are different in children and adolescents compared with adults. Although COVID-19 appears to be less common in children, with milder disease overall, severe complications may occur, including paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome (PIMS-TS). Recognising the distinct needs of this population, the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce formed a Paediatric and Adolescent Care Panel to provide living guidelines for Australian clinicians to manage children and adolescents with COVID-19 and COVID-19 complications.
Read the main recommendations...
The latest updates and full recommendations...

The first year of COVID-19 in Australia: direct and indirect health effects

This new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare looks at the direct and indirect health effects of COVID-19 in Australia using data from the first year of the pandemic (up to April/May 2021). It includes information on case numbers, deaths, and burden of disease as well as the impact on other diseases, health services, changes in health behaviours and social determinants. It draws on data from a range of sources including disease surveillance systems, death registrations, hospitalisations, MBS and PBS, and surveys.

Australian guidelines for the clinical care of people with COVID-19

Clinical guidelines from the Australian National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce. The guidelines are designed to provide information to assist decision making and have been informed by the highest quality evidence available at the time of compilation. This version was updated on the 20th August 2021.

Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against the delta variant

This recent study in the UK – funded by Public Health England – and published in the NEJM – investigated the effectiveness of the BNT162b2 (Pfizer) and ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AstraZeneca) vaccines against the B.1.617.2 (delta) variant. While effectiveness after one dose of either vaccine was lower among people with the delta variant, they found high levels of vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease with the delta variant after the receipt of two doses. Only modest differences in vaccine effectiveness were noted with the delta variant as compared with the alpha variant after the receipt of two vaccine doses. The authors nevertheless advise caution and note that the findings are observational.
Read more in the NEJM...

BMJ Practice Pointer: Mask related acne (“maskne”) and other facial dermatoses

What you need to know:
  • Not all facial dermatoses related to personal protective equipment are “maskne”
  • Irritant contact dermatitis is the most common cause
  • Maintenance of the skin barrier and regular “mask breaks” are important aspects of management, in addition to standard medical treatment of the skin condition
Read BMJ Practice Pointer...
Further content in BMJ...

Whole of population-based cohort study of recovery time from COVID-19 in NSW

COVID-19 results in persisting symptoms but there is little systematically collected data estimating recovery time following infection. The authors followed 94% of all COVID-19 cases (n=2904) diagnosed in NSW between January and May 2020 using 3-4 weekly telephone interviews and linkage to hospitalisation and death data to determine if they had recovered from COVID-19 based on symptom resolution. 80% of those with COVID-19 recovered within a month, and 5% continued to experience symptoms 3 months later.

Practice Changing Update: Triple therapy for children ≥6 years with cystic fibrosis

Elexacaftor-tezacaftor-ivacaftor is an important therapy for most patients with cystic fibrosis, but its use has been limited to adolescents and adults. This new Practice Changing Update from UpToDate recommends triple therapy (elexacaftor-tezacaftor-ivacaftor) rather than dual therapy (tezacaftor-ivacaftor or lumacaftor-ivacaftor) for patients ≥6 years old with cystic fibrosis who are homozygous for the F508del variant. (Grade 1B recommendation)

UpToDate Cystic fibrosis: treatment with CFTR modulators...
Read original article...

NEW REVIEW: Neurology and neuropsychiatry of COVID-19

This systematic review and meta-analysis aims to describe the characteristics of the early literature and estimate point prevalence for neurological and neuropsychiatric manifestations of infection with SARS-CoV-2. 13,292 records were screened to identify 215 included studies from 30 countries. Neurological and neuropsychiatric symptoms of COVID-19 in the pandemic’s early phase are varied and common. Symptoms with the highest prevalence were anosmia, weakness, fatigue, dysgeusia, myalgia, depression, headache, anxiety and altered mental status. Heterogeneity for most clinical manifestations was high.
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