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Research and Evidence Informed Practice in Allied and Scientific Health

The Allied and Scientific Health Office (ASHO) aims to enable excellence in allied health research, which is crucial to delivering high quality health care and evidence-informed practice to South Australians.

As part of this aim, ASHO is drafting a discussion paper on how to build allied health research and translation capacity in SA Health. This paper will be released for consultation with stakeholders in due course.

SA Health & UniSA Allied Health Research Collaboration: Funding Recipients 2018

In 2018, combined funding from UniSA, The Hospital Research Foundation and Country Health SA was invested to support allied health clinicians undertaking research to improve patient outcomes and develop the evidence base for allied health interventions.

A total of 25 applications were received and 8 projects were funded across 6 allied health professions. The assessment panel was impressed with the breadth of applications received and pleased to have the opportunity to support new allied health research across all SA Health Local Health Networks. The funded projects share a focus on translation of research knowledge into practice to improve patient outcomes and this has been a valuable new initiative within allied health.

The following projects were awarded Allied Health Research Collaboration funding in 2018:

  • Facilitating manual wheelchair skills following lower limb amputation using a group process: A mixed methods evaluation of a new intervention

Profession(s): Occupational Therapy
LHN: CALHN
Chief Investigator: Kimberly Charlton
Research Team: Georgie Tucker, Carolyn Murray, Angela Berndt, Rose Boucaut

  • Closing the evidence-practice gap by promoting early mobilisation in admitted patients: a mixed-methods research study

Profession(s): Physiotherapy
LHN: SALHN
Chief Investigator: Jenne Farrant
Research Team: Karen Sherwell, Sarah Choat, Kylie Johnston, Anna Phillips, Saravana Kumar

  • Demonstrating the impact of the Whyalla Community Mental Health Rehabillitation Service: A mixed methods study

Profession(s): Multi-disciplinary (OT, Physio, Mental Health clinicians)
LHN: CHSA
Chief Investigator: Adrian Leet
Research Team: Shaun Dennis, Audrey McCall, Alexandra McIntyre, Jocelyn Kernot, Sue Gilbert-Hunt, Angela Berndt, Saravana Kumar, Amy Baker

  • Early Mobilisation in Paediatric Intensive Care (EMPIC): A Quality and Safety Intervention

Profession(s): Multi-disciplinary (Physiotherapy, Nursing, Medical Intensivist)
LHN: WCHN
Chief Investigator: Catherine Muir
Research Team: Kauhiro Maki, Subodh Ganu, Steve Keeley, Margarita Tsiros, Emily Ward, Adrian Esterman

  • Characterization of swallow dysfunction and neuronal degeneration in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome

Profession(s): Multi-disciplinary (Speech Pathology, Head & Neck Surgery, Sleep Physician, Medical Scientist)
LHN: SALHN
Chief Investigator: Mistyka Schar
Research Team: Eng Ooi, Theo Athanasiadis, Charmaine Woods, Ching Li Chair-Coetzer, Taher Omari, Danny Eckert, Kurt Lushington, Anna Kontos, Jill Dorrian

  • Antimicrobial prescribing patterns: A comparative study of guideline compliance in a regional GP led hospital, before and after implementation of clinical pharmacy services

Profession(s): Pharmacy
LHN: CHSA
Chief Investigator: Mahsa Tantiongco
Research Team: Pascale Dettwiller, Stefan Kowalski

  • Investigation of the broad scale impact of the frequency of clinic based early intervention services within the 0-4 age range with diagnosed/suspected developmental delay

Profession(s): Speech Pathology
LHN: NALHN
Chief Investigator: Nicolette Varvounis
Research Team: Jessica Stott, Linda Nimmo, Emily Ward, Kobie Boshoff, Terry Boyle, Sophie Lefmann

  • An Audit of an Advance Scope Physiotherapy Services in a Combined Rheumatologist/Physiotherapist Clinic

Profession(s): Multi-disciplinary (Physiotherapy, Rheumatology)
LHN: CALHN
Chief Investigator: Alison Wigg
Research Team: Annie Ayres, Susanna Proudman, Rachel Black, Steve Milanese

International Centre for Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE)

The International Centre for Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE) works locally, nationally and globally to create new knowledge and translate evidence into safe, quality health care. iCAHE partners with researchers, clinicians, educators, policy makers, government, industry, professional and consumer groups and the broader community. 

iCAHE provides a wide range of tools, services and resources to support health practitioners, particularly the members of the Allied and Scientific Health Office of the Department for Health and Wellbeing, South Australia, in translating evidence into policy and practice. The following is a summary of the services we provide to ASHO members:

  1. Free one-hour Professional Development courses in Evidence based practice and Research Methodology
  2. Free resources including
  3. Journal club (request via iCAHEjournalclub@unisa.edu.au)
      • Training for facilitators (face to face or online via virtual classroom).
      • Support in
        1. developing a search strategy, searching for the most relevant evidence to underpin quality improvement activities, evidence implementation into practice considering local context
        2.  critical appraisal of the evidence, with a guide to local context applicability and decision making
  4. Statistical analysis assistance and support (request via iCAHE@unisa.edu.au
  5. Rapid reviews of the literature (request via ASHO office) 
      • A 12-week rapid review process can be conducted for those needing evidence to underpin their practice or policies
  6. Masterclasses (announced in the iCAHE website) 
      • iCAHE runs annual masterclasses to provide best practice updates in allied health service delivery models, quality and safety, evaluation strategies and measures of accountability

Health Consumers Alliance

International Centre for Allied Health Evidence (iCAHE) is visionary with its partnership with Healthcare Consumers Alliance (HCA). Consumer / patient engagement is a critical element in evidence-based practice, and is required in Australia for health service accreditation, and while it is attracting increasing community attention worldwide, there is very little evidence regarding the role of the Allied Health professional in translating this intent into effective practice.

iCAHE aims to make a difference to allied health interpretation of the evidence based practice components by focusing on the consumer aspects. This will be achieved by partnering with consumers, identifying exemplar allied health clinician / consumer activities (lived patient experiences) and attempting to understand consumer perspectives of healthcare consumption (Grimmer 2014).

Professional Certificate in Health Consumer Engagement

This Certificate resulted from collaboration between the iCAHE, University of South Australia and Health Consumers Alliance SA. It provides an opportunity to learn about health consumer engagement in the context of best evidence research and implementation. The Health Consumers Engagement Professional Certificate consists of two courses; Best Evidence, Policy and Practise for Health, and Application of Best Evidence in Health.

More information can be found via the University of South Australia

Allied Health Evidence Database

The Allied and Scientific Health Office has collated a database of resources providing links and summary information for evidence related to Allied Health practice. The database includes research papers, clinical guidelines, practice frameworks, conference presentations and other resources which can be used to inform clinical practice.

Resources can be filtered by Profession, to see only discipline-specific information, or can be sorted by clinical area or by operational theme (such as scope of practice, AH led services, AH extended hours services and so on). The excel table format allows users to sort and filter the resources to see only relevant resources and instructions for these functions can be found within the document.

For further information, corrections or additions to the resource list, please contact the ASHO at HealthAlliedandScientificHealth@sa.gov.au

Clinical audits

The ongoing partnership with iCAHE, offers Allied and Scientific Health Professionals in SA Health opportunities to undertake workplace based clinical audits on behalf of their department, clinical service or advisory group with research support. Information about previously conducted audits can be reviewed on the iCAHE Audits & Evaluations page.

ASPIRE for quality

The ASPIRE for quality is an evidence-based tool developed by the International Centre for Allied Health Evidence to evaluate clinical service performance in South Australian Local Health Networks.

The development, implementation and pilot evaluation of the ASPIRE was funded by SA Health's Allied Health and Scientific Office.

Clinical Guidelines Clearing House

SA Health Allied Health Professionals are provided with opportunities to extend their skills through access to the iCAHE website and Clinical Guideline Clearinghouse, training in evidence-based practice, journal club participation, Masterclasses and mentoring for staff publications. A series of Masterclass workshops have been run by iCAHE for AHPs across the themes of Evidence Based Practice and Outcome Measures and use of the iCAHE Outcomes Calculator.

The latest information is available through the iCAHE website.

Further information

For further information on evidence based practice is also available on the Standards and guidelines page.

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