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The Australian Indigenous ClinicalInfoNet (ClinicalInfoNet) - A web resource for chronic disease prevention and management

Australian Indigenous ClinicalInfoNet The Australian Indigenous ClinicalInfoNet (www.clinicalinfonet.net.au) presents, in a single resource, existing tools, guides and online information that promote best practice in the prevention, identification and management of chronic disease in Indigenous Australians.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience a burden of disease two-and-a-half times that of other Australians. An Indigenous man has a life expectancy about 11.5 years less than that of a non-Indigenous man and an Indigenous woman has a life expectancy almost 10 years less than that of a non-Indigenous woman1; 70% of the gap in life expectancy is due to avoidable and treatable chronic diseases2. The gap can be reduced by the prevention, early identification and improved management of these diseases.

Indigenous access to adequate, preventive and comprehensive primary health care is essential to reduce excess deaths and to close the gap in life expectancy. The Australian Government, as part of its contribution to the Council of Australian Governments' (COAG) Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes agreement, has committed to close the gap in life expectancy within a generation. One of the strategies to help achieve this outcome is to address the key barriers for Indigenous people accessing health care through mainstream services, while also building capacity within Indigenous-specific health services.

Chronic disease management in the primary health care workplace requires access to a range of materials, such as patient education, management tools, guidelines and references. Extensive clinical resources are already available online, but key barriers to use in practice include a lack of awareness by health professionals and easy access to these resources. A web resource that brings together all these resources in one place would assist doctors, nurses and Aboriginal health workers in their decision-making processes and inform options relating to chronic disease management for Indigenous people. It would enable doctors, nurses and Aboriginal health workers to access relevant, evidence-based, current and culturally appropriate information.

This web resource is the Australian Indigenous ClinicalInfoNet (ClinicalInfoNet) (www.clinicalinfonet.net.au). It covers the key chronic diseases contributing to the burden of disease in Indigenous people:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetes
  • chronic respiratory disease
  • kidney disease
  • cancer.
The web resource provides access to:
  • patient education materials
  • clinical guidelines and reference materials
  • clinical tools
  • systems and services information
These resources cover the areas of:
  • prevention
  • diagnosis
  • treatment
  • drug therapy.

The integration of the web resource into patient management systems via the PrimaryCare Sidebar®, provides access in 'real time', enabling immediate returns during the patient consultation.

The web resource has been developed by a consortium of experts and the work guided by a Technical Reference Group (TRG). The TRG brings together a broad range of experts in Indigenous health, chronic disease management, primary health care, evidence based management, and public health. Publications appearing on the ClinicalInfoNet undergo a rigorous selection and approval process guided by the TRG.

The ClinicalInfoNet is developed and managed by the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet (AIH), which is well regarded for delivering a high standard of quality, evidence-based material to inform practice and policy through its own website (www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au).

Endnotes

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2009). Experimental life tables for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians: 2005-2007. (ABS Catalogue no. 3302.0.55.003) Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics
  2. Vos T, Barker B, Stanley L, Lopez AD (2007). The burden of disease and injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2003. Brisbane: School of Population Health, University of Queensland.
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Last updated: 2 September 2014
 
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