Stroke Foundation CEO steers COVID 19 Management Guidelines

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan has been appointed as chair of the National Covid-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce National Steering Committee.

The Taskforce was established to support Australian clinicians on the frontline remain up to date with the latest scientific evidence to best manage the treatment and care of patients with coronavirus (COVID-19).

It brings together representatives from 22 peak health professional bodies and more 100 clinical experts across primary, acute and critical care to deliver these updates in the form of ‘living guidelines’. Stroke Foundation has pioneered the development and use of living guidelines in Australia.

Ms McGowan said it was a privilege to be involved in the vitally important project.

“We are all reeling from the impact of COVID-19. It has taken too many lives around the world and caused upheaval for so many elements of life,” Ms McGowan said.

“Researchers are madly looking for answers to manage the virus and that brings an influx of information – and at times misinformation – busy health professionals do not have the capacity to read and interpret.

“The living guidelines utilise technology to identify and rapidly synthesise emerging research, providing evidence-based, accessible and reliable management recommendations in near-real time.”

Ms McGowan has witnessed the benefits of a living guidelines model in providing certainty to health professionals after it was adopted as a pilot case for stroke treatment and care in 2019. The COVID-19 Management Guidelines build on this model and the learnings from it.

Ms McGowan said this system of health evidence translation would improve outcomes from COVID-19 and had the potential to save lives.

“Stroke Foundation is excited to have paved the way for this innovation which ensures recommendations for best practise evidence-based treatment are not out of date and are easily accessible for our health professionals on a web-based application,” she said.

“I thank the 96 clinicians and 27 stroke survivors and carers who have made extraordinary contributions for the living stroke guidelines to become a reality. It is incredible to see this hard work adapted so rapidly for COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 guidelines will ensure all affected Australian are given the best care possible while also contributing important learnings that will be needed around the world.

“We are determined to win the battle against this potentially devastating virus,” she said.

Australia is a world-leader in the development of living guidelines through the work of the Australian Living Evidence Consortium and in partnership with Cochrane Australia, the world’s most trusted provider of health evidence.

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