Taskforce creates clinical guidelines for COVID-19

Monday, 06 April, 2020

Taskforce creates clinical guidelines for COVID-19

Professional groups from Australia’s health sector have formed a taskforce to develop ‘living guidelines’ that will provide continually updated, evidence-based guidance to clinicians caring for people with COVID-19. The guidelines will form a key part of Australia’s response to COVID-19.

The National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce — convened by the Australian Living Evidence Consortium based at Cochrane Australia in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University — is made up of teams of researchers, experts and clinicians that have been working around the clock to deliver national guidelines for the clinical care of people with COVID-19 across primary, acute and critical care settings.

Taskforce Chair Associate Professor Julian Elliott said Australia’s world-leading efforts in generating ‘living’ clinical guidelines in areas like stroke and diabetes have now pivoted to focus wholly on helping clinicians manage COVID-19.

“There is urgent need to arm Australia’s healthcare professionals with evidence-based guidance about how best to care for people with COVID-19. These will be living guidelines, updated with new research in near-real time in order to give reliable, up-to-the minute recommendations to the clinicians during this unprecedented health crisis.

“These guidelines will help our frontline clinicians treat COVID-19 with confidence, knowing that their approach is backed by evidence and the very latest research from around the world,” Professor Elliott said.

Using groundbreaking evidence, surveillance and automation technologies, the taskforce will identify and summarise global COVID-19 research findings and feed this evidence to guideline panels every week, drawn from across Australia’s clinical and consumer communities. The results will then be delivered into the hands of clinicians at point of care. This will provide a trusted single source of advice to help inform clinical decisions.

“This is about ensuring that Australian clinicians are supported at the front line with the right information,” Professor Elliott said.

“There is a lot of conflicting advice circulating and not all of it is based on good-quality evidence. We can leverage our world-leading technologies and our partnership with the globally trusted Cochrane network to make sure Australian healthcare professionals have the very best information at their fingertips.”

The initial focus of the guidelines will be on:

  • Definitions of disease severity
  • Monitoring and markers of clinical deterioration
  • Antiviral medications and other disease-modifying treatments
  • Respiratory support

The Australian Government has announced that it will provide funding to support the taskforce, together with contributions from the Victorian Government, the Ian Potter Foundation and the Walter Cottman Endowment Fund managed by Equity Trustees.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/wladimir1804

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