Pandemic guidance for health professionals
The Choosing Wisely principles have been a pillar during Australia’s COVID-19 pandemic response. Our health system has come together for a common goal and purpose to manage the pandemic. Health professionals have had to be stewards of our finite health resources. Multidisciplinary teams have united to adopt an evidence-based, patient-centred approach. As a result, our health system has adapted in ways and with urgency unseen before. To assist clinicians and consumers to access reliable information about the pandemic we’ve developed specific pandemic guidance, which is based on current evidence and will continue to be update as evidence evolves over time.
Choosing Wisely Australia pandemic guidance messages
Five messages for doctors and other health professionals to provide guidance for appropriate tests, treatments and procedures during a pandemic.
Choosing Wisely Australia pandemic guidance for clinicians
1. DO encourage patients to seek usual care for new or existing medical conditions.
2. DO use health resources judiciously in accordance with guidelines.
3. DO test and manage patients with COVID-19 according to evidence-based guidelines.
This includes educating patients about unproven therapies or advice, such as:
- Dexamethasone and COVID-19
- Hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19
- Antiviral medicines and COVID-19
- Flu shot and COVID-19
- Living guidelines: High-priority, evidence-based clinical COVID-19 guidelines
- Australian clinical flowcharts for the care of people with COVID-19
- Advice on off-label medicines for treatment and prophylaxis of COVID-19
- Warning to consumers and advertisers about COVID-19 test kits
- Beware of Fraudulent Coronavirus Tests, Vaccines and Treatments
- COVID-19 resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
- COVID-19 resources for culturally and linguistically diverse communities
4. DO consider telehealth as an option, where appropriate, to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19 and to increase accessibility.
- Providing health care remotely during COVID-19
- Incorporating Telemedicine as Part of COVID-19 Outbreak Response Systems
- Providing patient care during COVID-19 - Telehealth and other resources
5. DO discuss goals of care with patients, especially those with limited life expectancy, in accordance with relevant Choosing Wisely recommendations.
Choosing Wisely Australia's pandemic guidance for consumers
Evidence for clinical care to people with COVID-19
The National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforcehas developed clinical guidance and recommendations to support the clinical management of people with COVID-19.
Making appropriate, evidence-based decisions on clinical care for people with COVID-19, while ensuring the protection of front line staff, is paramount for Australian health service providers. The Taskforce is undertaking continuous evidence surveillance to identify and rapidly synthesise emerging research in order to provide national, evidence-based guidance for the clinical care of people with COVID-19. This is specific to managing COVID-19 and covers the full disease course across mild, moderate, severe and critical illness.
These are ‘living’ guidelines, updated with new research in near real-time in order to give reliable, up-to-the minute advice and recommendations to health care professionals providing frontline care. There are also clinical flowcharts available incorporating the living guideline recommendations.
Choosing Wisely Australia and the National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce have partnered to raise awareness of the guidelines and open a dialogue between the Taskforce and the Choosing Wisely community.
Choosing Wisely/National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce webinar
Choosing Wisely and the National COVID-19 Taskforce recently hosted a webinar about the Taskforce, living guidelines model, recommendations and guidance available to support Australian health services. The webinar is building a dialogue between the Taskforce and the Choosing Wisely community of health professions, consumers and carers, and health professional colleges to raise awareness of the guidelines and to ensure insights from the ground are helping to identify gaps in current guidelines and their implementation.
You can join the discussion about what further guidance is needed on the Taskforce’s website.
The COVID-19 information hub by NPS MedicineWise, facilitator of Choosing Wisely Australia, has information about medicines, tests and treatments during the COVID-19 pandemic. This information hub is regularly updated with articles and links to other reliable information for consumers and for health professionals.
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