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Improving Public Understanding

There is a growing awareness of the problem of overdiagnosis or ‘too much medicine’. Overuse of medical tests and treatments not only causes harm but also diverts scarce healthcare resources required to deliver the necessary care. Our work to address ‘too much medicine’ aims to be both safe and fair for healthcare consumers and their families, and at the same time optimise the Australian health system’s safety, efficiency and equity of access.

The Public Understanding theme includes research staff, research students and professional staff from a variety of backgrounds including physiotherapy and chiropractic.

Theme Leader

Current research projects & trials

Scan your options not your back - Awareness campaign to improve care for low back pain

This study examined the effect of a communication strategy, translated into 5 languages, on unnecessary imaging of low back pain in a NSW Emergency Department. The aim of this study was to determine whether it is feasible to a run a campaign to raise awareness of unnecessary imaging for low back pain among patients and physicians. We found that digital posters and patient education leaflets positioned in the ED waiting room could encourage the public to consider their options regarding imaging and ask questions of their doctor. Our pilot trial at the Liverpool Hospital was completed in 2020 and the findings were published in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care. To read more about the trial please click here. Principal Investigators: Dr Adrian Traeger, Dr Swee Sharma Associate Investigators: Elise Tcharkhedian, Dr Ian Ferguson, Dr Andrew Coggins, Associate Professor Paul Middleton, Janet Harrison, Sweekriti Sharma (IMH), Professor Chris Maher (IMH). This study has received funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council and ethics approval from South Western Sydney Local Health District Human Research Ethics Committee. For more information about this study please contact: Dr Adrian Traeger e:

Australia & New Zealand Musculoskeletal (ANZMUSC) Clinical Trials Network

ANZMUSC Clinical Trials Network has been established by research leaders with funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) for five years (2018-2022) and is being led by Monash University. ANZMUSC Clinical Trials Network’s vision is to optimise musculoskeletal health through high quality, collaborative clinical research. They aim to do this through identifying key clinical research questions, improving the quality of research, increasing translation of research into policy and practice, fostering collaborations, endorsing clinical research, and advancing research through mentoring and education. Principal Investigator: Professor Rachelle Buchbinder – Monash University Institute for Musculoskeletal Health Investigators: Professor Chris Maher, Professor Ian Harris, Professor Jane Latimer and Professor Christine Lin. For more information, please visit: ANZMUSC Clinical Trials Network

Opioid evidence-based deprescribing guidelines 

Overprescribing of prescription opioid analgesics is acknowledged to be a major international public health problem. There is an increasing body of evidence on potentially inappropriate opioid use leading to clinically significant adverse events, and limited evidence regarding the efficacy of opioids in the longer term. Regular monitoring of chronic prescription opioid use and deprescribing (medication withdrawal) may be required to minimise the risk of harms. Deprescribing is defined as the act of reducing or ceasing medication that is no longer necessary or that may cause harm. Current prescribing guidelines provide advice regarding initiation of treatment and rarely address monitoring or medication discontinuation, or, where they do, provide inadequate cessation guidance and support. As such, novel opioid cessation approaches are needed to ensure appropriate opioid use. The objective of this project is to develop evidence-based opioid deprescribing guidelines to provide guidance on how and when to stop opioids. Australian Clinical Practice Guidelines Register: Investigators: Associate Professor Danijela Gnjidic (University of Sydney), Dr Carl Schneider (University of Sydney), Ms Aili Langford (University of Sydney), Professor Christine Lin (IMH)

Communication techniques for opioid tapering conversations

Investigators of the opioid evidence-based deprescribing guidelines project and a guideline development group have developed a resource titled: Communication Techniques for Opioid Tapering Conversations Guide. The Communication Techniques for Opioid Tapering Conversations Guide (provided in the link below) has been adapted using the ‘FRAME’ acronym for leading deprescribing conversations with permission by the authors of “Communication Techniques for Deprescribing Conversations”. This conversation guide aims to provide guidance on structuring opioid tapering conversations and can be used in conjunction with existing clinical and policy guidance. Guideline development group members: Professor Lisa Bero, Professor Fiona Blyth, Dr Jason Doctor, Dr Simon Holliday, Professor Yun-Hee Jeon, Dr Joanna Moullin, Associate Professor Bridin Murnion, Associate Professor Suzanne Nielsen, Ms Rawa Osman, Dr Jonathan Penm, Dr Emily Reeve, Dr Sharon Reid & Ms Janney Wale. Suggested Citation: Langford AV, Gnjidic D, Schneider CR. Communication techniques for opioid analgesic tapering conversations. Sydney: The University of Sydney; 2020.

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