New stroke solution will ‘save lives’

The Australian government is partnering with the Stroke Foundation and Cochrane Australia to revolutionise the translation of medical discoveries into clinical practice.

It says doing so will “save lives and improve health outcomes”.

It will pilot ‘living stroke guidelines’ in what it claims is a world first. These will accelerate access to world-class, evidenced-based treatments and care.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt announced the $1.5 million Medical Research Future Fund pilot today.

Clinical expertise

Stroke Foundation CEO Sharon McGowan says the Living Guidelines for Stroke Management will deliver a “near real-time, closed-loop evidence system”. She says global evidence and local data will be continually integrated with clinical expertise.

“All Australians deserve world-class health care,” she said. “Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines are key to establishing effective, high-quality, consistent and safe healthcare practices and policies.

“Australia is a leader in the field of medical research. However, conventional updating of clinical-practice guidelines periodically often lead to out-of-date treatment recommendations and care.

“Current systems for translating stroke research into improved clinical practice and health outcomes for Australians are slow, resource heavy and expensive. The Living Guidelines for Stroke Management mark a new era in the ability to support health services.”

Trustworthy guidelines

Julian Elliott is Associate Professor, Global Lead of Evidence Systems for Cochrane and Senior Research Fellow at Cochrane Australia. He says learnings from Living Guidelines for Stroke Management will show how advances in technology and collaboration can change the way research is translated into clinical practice – not just for stroke, but also for other serious health conditions.

“More than 75 trials are published every day, and with ongoing exponential growth in research, it’s almost impossible for anyone to keep up,” he said.

“Engulfed by information, clinicians are struggling to know what research is relevant and robust. This leads to poor and potentially harmful healthcare decisions. Trustworthy clinical guidelines up to date with the latest research are necessary to provide clarity and aid decision making.”