Why we’ve come togethEr

Many Australians would be surprised to learn that most of the recommendations and guidelines that shape the health care they receive are not based on the latest high-quality research evidence or findings from clinical trials.

In many fields, rigorous clinical guidelines are only produced every 3 to 5 years, while research findings appear every month. This means that many patients may not be getting advice or treatment based on the latest evidence, but rather what was considered best practice whenever the relevant guidelines were last updated (sometimes up to 10 years earlier).

Australian clinical guidelines are developed by expert panels and based on rigorous systematic reviews of the relevant research, but most are out of date - primarily because guideline panels can’t keep up with the deluge of new findings being published by researchers around the world.

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The widely referenced paper above was published in PLOS Medicine in 2010. Almost a decade later, the critical challenge to reliably aggregate and make sense of the results of an ever increasing number of research studies, compounded by the exponential accumulation of real-world data, remains largely undressed.

 
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COCHRANE’S ROLE

Over the last 5 years, Cochrane and a number of Australian and international partners have been developing the foundations of a ‘Living’ model of evidence synthesis and dissemination. This world-leading approach harnesses innovations in software, data systems, machine learning, automation, citizen science and co-production to enable near real-time updating of systematic reviews, evidence-based guideline recommendations and other high-quality evidence products. 

Importantly, the Living Evidence model supports rapid evidence synthesis without compromising the rigorous, gold standard methods for systematic review and guideline development that are needed to provide trustworthy recommendations.

Early work to develop and test the suite of technical tools and streamlined processes that underpin the Living Evidence model was enabled through Project Transform funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Cochrane Game Changer Initiative from 2014-2018.

Building on this work, Cochrane Australia led the establishment of the Australian Living Evidence Consortium in May 2018 to bring together a group of close collaborators and early adopters of the Living Evidence approach in Australia.

Members of the Consortium are committed to evidence-based methods for developing guideline recommendations, embracing innovation and supporting a collaborative approach to advancing Living Evidence capacity in Australia.

 
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WHAT WE AIM TO DO


DELIVER RELIABLE,ACCESSIBLE,
UP-TO-DATE EVIDENCE

The Australian Living Evidence Consortium will pioneer the development and deployment of a world-first, end-to-end, closed-loop evidence system for near real-time updating of systematic reviews and clinical practice guideline recommendations within the Australian health system.

The Consortium will develop the platforms, processes and partnerships needed to synthesise large volumes of research and deliver reliable, accessible, up-to-date evidence to patients, health professionals and policymakers faster, more efficiently and more effectively.

We want to bring Australia’s evidence ecosystem into the 21st century, moving from a system that is outdated, fragmented, slow, expensive and inefficient to one that is modern, integrated, rapid, efficient and trustworthy.

BREAK THE TRADE OFF BETWEEN EVIDENCE QUALITY AND CURRENCY

Harnessing automation technologies, citizen science, data science, data linkage and the rapidly evolving landscape of health data analytics, we aim to deliver substantial increases in research value and impact. Living Evidence has the potential to reduce the time lag between publication of new research, incorporation into a systematic review, updating of evidence-based guideline recommendations and dissemination to decision makers from several years to around 8 weeks.

Health system-wide scale up of Living Evidence systems will require significant investment and represent a major new health and research infrastructure project impacting multiple portfolios across Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments.

This is why our program model is taking a phased approach to the development and roll out of Living Evidence. Frontier Projects in stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, musculoskeletal conditions and heart disease will provide the thrust of early pilot, testing and evaluation work needed to demonstrate feasibility, provide evidence of health and economic benefit and guide future investment and expansion into other clinical areas.

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Consortium Framework

MISSION

To ensure that patients, health professionals and policymakers have access to reliable, up-to-date evidence to inform healthcare decisions.

VISION

A national system that delivers reliable, evidence-based summaries of the latest research to point-of-care in near real-time, driving better care and health outcomes.


OUR ROLE

The Consortium will bring together a group of leading experts in evidence synthesis, automation technologies, guideline development, consumer engagement and knowledge translation who are committed to establishing frontier projects in Living Evidence.

We will leverage early investment to further develop the platforms, processes and partnerships required to revolutionise Australia’s evidence synthesis and dissemination capability.

Driven by a series of Frontier Projects, over the next 3-5 years the Consortium will have a central coordination and facilitation role in:

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Capacity Building

  • Developing a critical mass of expertise in Living Evidence

  • Promoting shared learning

  • Fostering communication and collaboration

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Thought Leadership

  • Providing expert advice

  • Informing national policy development

  • Providing international leadership

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Core Program Development and Coordination

  • Generating investment for Living Evidence platforms and systems development

  • Supporting the development, delivery and dissemination of Living Evidence frontier projects

  • Facilitating access to Living Evidence platforms and systems

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Advocacy

  • Coordinating joint advocacy

  • Developing brand and track record

  • Evaluating return on investment

 
 

 
 

FOUNDING PRINCIPLES

  • Our program will support the objectives of Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments and other relevant healthcare stakeholders to improve the health of Australians through evidence-based health care.

  • Our work will be shaped by the needs of the patient and their families.

  • Our work will be aligned with and guided by peak professional and consumer bodies.

  • Our work will promote gold-standard evidence-based methods for evidence synthesis and guideline development.

  • We will actively collaborate to reduce duplication.

  • We will learn from and leverage international efforts to advance Living Evidence.

  • We will contribute to the development of education and training in Living Evidence.


 

LEADERSHIP & GOVERNANCE

Early-phase development of the Australian Living Evidence Consortium is being led by an Interim Executive Committee of senior representatives from each of our health topic areas, together with Cochrane Australia.


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Associate Professor Julian Elliott (Chair) MBBS, FRACP, PhD 
Associate Professor Julian Elliott is Lead for Evidence Systems at Cochrane, Senior Research Fellow at Cochrane Australia and an HIV physician in the Department of Infectious Diseases, Alfred Hospital and Monash University. His research is focussed on the use of new technology and systems to improve evidence synthesis and the use of evidence for health decision making. He is chair of the Australian Living Evidence Consortium and leads Cochrane’s development of new evidence systems, including co-lead of Project Transform, a major Cochrane project that developed new software systems, artificial intelligence and citizen science to improve the production of systematic reviews. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Covidence, a non-profit online platform for efficient systematic review production.

Associate Professor Elliott was previously Chair of the Australasian HIV Guidelines Panel and was the 2017 recipient of the Commonwealth Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research.

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Professor Rachelle Buchbinder MBBS (Hons), MSc, PhD, FRACP, FAHMS
Professor Rachelle Buchbinder is an Australian NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow. She has been the Director of the Monash Department of Clinical Epidemiology since its inception in 2001 and a Professor in the Monash University Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine since 2007. She is a rheumatologist and clinical epidemiologist who combines clinical practice with research in a wide range of multidisciplinary projects relating to arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions.

Other roles include Coordinating Editor of Cochrane Musculoskeletal; Chair, Australian Rheumatology Association Database (ARAD) Management Committee; founding member and Chair Executive Committee, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence for the Australia and New Zealand Musculoskeletal (ANZMUSC) Clinical Trials Network. 

Most recently Rachelle chaired the steering group for The Lancet Low Back Pain Series, a series of three papers published in March 2018 that drew attention to the urgent need for action to reduce the current and projected disease burden from low back pain. In particular it outlined the epidemic of low value care for low back pain across the world and identified promising solutions.

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Cia Connell BPharm (Hons) GradCertPharmPrac MClinPharm MSHPA
Cia Connell is Clinical Manager, Policy and Evidence at the Heart Foundation. She has experience in an array of health roles including in the development of multiple national clinical cardiology guidelines, and 11 years’ experience in public health as a senior clinical pharmacist (ongoing role) specialising in cardiology. She has completed a fellowship in clinical pharmacy specialising in cardiology.

Cia also lectures in cardiology at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University, has membership on the leadership committee of the cardiology special practice Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA), and is an author of Therapeutic Guidelines Cardiovascular. She is passionate about applying evidence to clinical practice, and has been involved in a number of cardiology research projects and service improvements.

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Professor Jonathan Craig MBChB, DCH, MMed(Clin Epi), FRACP, PhD
Professor Jonathan Craig is Vice-President and Executive Dean of the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University. He is a practising paediatric nephrologist and clinical epidemiologist, and especially committed to improving the health of people with chronic kidney disease, the health of children, and the health and well-being of Indigenous people. He has had continuous NHMRC Program Grant funding for 20+ years, and currently is CIA on a Program Grant (BEAT-CKD), Project Grant, and CRE.

His awards include International Distinguished Medal of the National (US) Kidney Foundation (2010), TJ Neale Award for Outstanding Contribution to Nephrological Science, and Honorary Membership of the Italian Society of Nephrology (2004). He is the Coordinating Editor of the Cochrane Kidney and Transplant Group.

He is a past Chair of the Steering Group of Cochrane, is a past member of the Expert Advisory Group for the Structural Review of NHMRC’s Grant Program, and non-executive board member of Kidney Health Australia. He is a member of the NHMRC Advisory Group on the Synthesis and Translation of Research Evidence, a member of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, a member of the Medicare Services Advisory Committee, a member of the Life Savings Drug Program, a member of the International Advisory Panel for Singapore’s Agency for Care Effectiveness, and past member of the WHO expert review panel for global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property.

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Professor Sally Green PhD, B App Sci (Physiotherapy)
Professor Sally Green is Co-Director of Cochrane Australia and a Professorial Fellow and Graduate Research Co-ordinator in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University.
Sally is Chair of Cochrane’s international Knowledge Translation Advisory Group and leads several competitively funded research projects investigating the best ways of informing health policy and practice decisions with knowledge from synthesised research. She is a member of Cochrane’s Governing Board and of NHMRC’s Synthesis and Translation of Research Evidence (STORE) advisory committee.

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Sharon McGowan MBA, GAICD
Having spent her career in the health sector, Sharon McGowan has a wealth of experience and expertise that will take the Stroke Foundation forward on the next phase of its journey. She is an experienced communicator, with a background in management, community engagement, culture transformation, health promotion, fundraising and the volunteer service. Originally trained as a registered nurse, Sharon has worked in Australia and the UK with a range of government statutory authorities and not-for-profit organisations.

Sharon holds a Masters of Business Administration from Cranfield University and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Acutely aware of the devastating impact that a stroke can have on survivors and their family members, Sharon is passionate about bringing government, health professionals and the broader community together to fight this terrible disease. Sharon aims to make a real difference by increasing awareness of stroke and support for it as a major health priority.

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Dr Tari Turner PhD, MBus (eBus&Com), BBiomedSci, PGradCert (Biostats)
Dr Tari Turner is a Senior Research Fellow  at Cochrane Australia in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University. She is also Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Health Research Policy and Systems. Tari's passion is supporting evidence-based decision-making to ensure the best possible outcomes. She enjoys designing, finding, synthesising and communicating research, and she loves seeing research actually make a difference.

Tari worked on Project Transform, a three-year flagship health evidence project, which led innovations in evidence production by the global Cochrane network, including living systematic reviews, living guidelines and TaskExchange. She also supports evidence translation work, particularly around maternal and newborn health in resource-constrained settings and her previous work at Cochrane Australia was on SEA-URCHIN and SEA-ORCHID projects investigating whether implementation of research evidence can improve care for mothers and babies in hospitals in South East Asia; and CIPHER exploring how to support use of research by policymakers. 

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Professor Sophia Zoungas MBBS, FRACP, PhD
Professor Sophia Zoungas is an endocrinologist and a leading clinician scientist and trialist. She is Head, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University and Professor of Diabetes, Vascular Health and Ageing. Her research focus is on the generation and implementation of evidence for the prevention, screening and management of diabetes and its complications of kidney and cardiovascular disease.

Professor Zoungas directs and supports projects and teaching on health care delivery, as well as advises on clinical epidemiological methods and trial design/conduct/reporting. She is a senior staff specialist in Endocrinology and Diabetes at Alfred Health and Monash Health, Victoria where she provides inpatient and outpatient services. Professor Zoungas is the Immediate Past President of the Australian Diabetes Society and the Clinical Director of the National Association of Diabetes Centres.

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Rhiannon Tate (Ex-officio)
Rhiannon is Program Lead for Evidence Innovation at Cochrane Australia and Development Coordinator for the Australian Living Evidence Consortium initiative. She has over 12 years of experience in strategic development and leadership of major national and international research collaborations, most recently as Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance which she helped to establish in 2014.

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