Medicine (St Vincent's) - Research Publications

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    IS QUALITY OF LIFE RECOVERY ASSOCIATED WITH LOWER MORTALITY 5 YEARS POST-FRACTURE IN COMMUNITY-DWELLING OLDER ADULTS?
    Talevski, J ; Sanders, K ; Vogrin, S ; Beauchamp, A ; Seeman, E ; Iuliano, S ; Svedbom, A ; Borgstrom, F ; Kanis, J ; Brennan-Olsen, S (SPRINGER LONDON LTD, 2022-04-01)
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    Lessons from the frontline: Documenting the experiences of Pacific emergency care clinicians responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Cox, M ; Phillips, G ; Mitchell, R ; Herron, L-M ; Körver, S ; Sharma, D ; Brolan, CE ; Kendino, M ; Masilaca, OK ; O'Reilly, G ; Poloniati, P ; Kafoa, B (Elsevier BV, 2022-08)
    UNLABELLED: Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) across the Pacific region have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and emergency care (EC) clinicians have been on the frontline of response efforts. Their responsibilities have extended from triage and clinical management of patients with COVID-19 to health system leadership and coordination. This has exposed EC clinicians to a range of ethical and operational challenges.This paper describes the context and methodology of a rapid, collaborative, qualitative research project that explored the experiences of EC clinicians in Pacific LMICs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study was conducted in three phases, with data obtained from online regional EC support forums, key informant interviews and focus group discussions. A phenomenological approach was adopted, incorporating a hybrid inductive and deductive thematic analysis. Research findings, reported in other manuscripts in this collection, will inform multi-sectoral efforts to improve health system preparedness for future public health emergencies. FUNDING: Epidemic Ethics/World Health Organization (WHO) initiative, supported by Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office/Wellcome Grant 214711/Z/18/Z (Phases 1 and 2A) and an Australasian College for Emergency Medicine Foundation International Development Fund Grant.
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    Lessons from the frontline: The value of emergency care processes and data to pandemic responses across the Pacific region.
    Mitchell, R ; O'Reilly, G ; Herron, L-M ; Phillips, G ; Sharma, D ; Brolan, CE ; Körver, S ; Kendino, M ; Poloniati, P ; Kafoa, B ; Cox, M (Elsevier BV, 2022-08)
    BACKGROUND: Emergency care (EC) addresses the needs of patients with acute illness and injury, and has fulfilled a critical function during the COVID-19 pandemic. 'Processes' (e.g. triage) and 'data' (e.g. surveillance) have been nominated as essential building blocks for EC systems. This qualitative research sought to explore the impact of the pandemic on EC clinicians across the Pacific region, including the contribution of EC building blocks to effective responses. METHODS: The study was conducted in three phases, with data obtained from online support forums, key informant interviews and focus group discussions. There were 116 participants from more than 14 Pacific Island Countries and Territories. A phenomenological approach was adopted, incorporating inductive and deductive methods. The deductive thematic analysis utilised previously identified building blocks for Pacific EC. This paper summarises findings for the building blocks of 'processes' and 'data'. FINDINGS: Establishing triage and screening capacity, aimed at assessing urgency and transmission risk respectively, were priorities for EC clinicians. Enablers included support from senior hospital leaders, previous disaster experience and consistent guidelines. The introduction of efficient patient flow processes, such as streaming, proved valuable to emergency departments, and checklists and simulation were useful implementation strategies. Some response measures impacted negatively on non-COVID patients, and proactive approaches were required to maintain 'business as usual'. The pandemic also highlighted the value of surveillance and performance data. INTERPRETATION: Developing effective processes for triage, screening and streaming, among other areas, was critical to an effective EC response. Beyond the pandemic, strengthening processes and data management capacity will build resilience in EC systems. FUNDING: Phases 1 and 2A of this study were part of an Epidemic Ethics/World Health Organization (WHO) initiative, supported by Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office/Wellcome Grant 214711/Z/18/Z. Co-funding for this research was received from the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine Foundation via an International Development Fund Grant.
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    "When all else fails you have to come to the emergency department": Overarching lessons about emergency care resilience from frontline clinicians in Pacific Island countries and territories during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Herron, L-M ; Phillips, G ; Brolan, CE ; Mitchell, R ; O'Reilly, G ; Sharma, D ; Körver, S ; Kendino, M ; Poloniati, P ; Kafoa, B ; Cox, M (Elsevier BV, 2022-08)
    UNLABELLED: The COVID-19 pandemic continues to test health systems resilience worldwide. Low- and middle-income country (LMIC) health care systems have considerable experience in disasters and disease outbreaks. Lessons from the preparedness and responses to COVID-19 in LMICs may be valuable to other countries.This policy paper synthesises findings from a multiphase qualitative research project, conducted during the pandemic to document experiences of Pacific Island Country and Territory (PICT) frontline clinicians and emergency care (EC) stakeholders. Thematic analysis and synthesis of enablers related to each of the Pacific EC systems building blocks identified key factors contributing to strengthened EC systems.Effective health system responses to the COVID-19 pandemic occurred when frontline clinicians and 'decision makers' collaborated with respect and open communication, overcoming healthcare workers' fear and discontent. PICT EC clinicians demonstrated natural leadership and strengthened local EC systems, supporting essential healthcare. Despite resource limitations, PICT cultural strengths of relational connection and innovation ensured health system resilience. COVID-19 significantly disrupted services, with long-tail impacts on non-communicable disease and other health burdens.Lessons learned in responding to COVID-19 can be applied to ongoing health system strengthening initiatives. Optimal systems improvement and sustainability requires EC leaders' involvement in current decision-making as well as future planning. SEARCH STRATEGY AND SELECTION CRITERIA: Search strategy and selection criteria We searched PubMed, Google Scholar, Ovid, WHO resources, Pacific and grey literature using search terms 'emergency care', 'acute/critical care', 'health care workers', 'emergency care systems/health systems', 'health system building blocks', 'COVID-19', 'pandemic/surge event/disease outbreaks' 'Low- and Middle-Income Countries', 'Pacific Islands/region' and related terms. Only English-language articles were included. FUNDING: Phases 1 and 2A of this study were part of an Epidemic Ethics/World Health Organization (WHO) initiative, supported by Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office/Wellcome Grant 214711/Z/18/Z. Copyright of the original work on which this publication is based belongs to WHO. The authors have been given permission to publish this manuscript. The authors alone are responsible for the views expressed in this publication and they do not necessarily represent the views, decisions or policies of WHO. Co-funding for this research was received from the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine Foundation via an International Development Fund Grant. RM is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Postgraduate Scholarship and a Monash Graduate Excellence Scholarship. GOR is supported by a NHMRC Early Career Research Fellowship. CEB is supported by a University of Queensland Development Research Fellowship. None of these funders played any role in study design, results analysis or manuscript preparation.
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    Lessons from the frontline: Leadership and governance experiences in the COVID-19 pandemic response across the Pacific region.
    Phillips, G ; Kendino, M ; Brolan, CE ; Mitchell, R ; Herron, L-M ; Kὃrver, S ; Sharma, D ; O'Reilly, G ; Poloniati, P ; Kafoa, B ; Cox, M (Elsevier BV, 2022-08)
    BACKGROUND: Universal access to safe, effective emergency care (EC) during the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated its centrality to healthcare systems. The 'Leadership and Governance' building block provides policy, accountability and stewardship to health systems, and is essential to determining effectiveness of pandemic response. This study aimed to explore the experience of leadership and governance during the COVID-19 pandemic from frontline clinicians and stakeholders across the Pacific region. METHODS: Australian and Pacific researchers collaborated to conduct this large, qualitative research project in three phases between March 2020 and July 2021. Data was gathered from 116 Pacific regional participants through online support forums, in-depth interviews and focus groups. A phenomenological approach shaped inductive and deductive data analysis, within a previously identified Pacific EC systems building block framework. FINDINGS: Politics profoundly influenced pandemic response effectiveness, even at the clinical coalface. Experienced clinicians spoke authoritatively to decision-makers; focusing on safety, quality and service duty. Rapid adaptability, past surge event experience, team-focus and systems-thinking enabled EC leadership. Transparent communication, collaboration, mutual respect and trust created unity between frontline clinicians and 'top-level' administrators. Pacific cultural assets of relationship-building and community cohesion strengthened responses. INTERPRETATION: Effective governance occurs when political, administrative and clinical actors work collaboratively in relationships characterised by trust, transparency, altruism and evidence. Trained, supported EC leadership will enhance frontline service provision, health security preparedness and future Universal Health Coverage goals. FUNDING: Epidemic Ethics/World Health Organization (WHO), Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office/Wellcome Grant 214711/Z/18/Z. Co-funding: Australasian College for Emergency Medicine Foundation, International Development Fund Grant.
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    Lessons from the frontline: The COVID-19 pandemic emergency care experience from a human resource perspective in the Pacific region.
    Brolan, CE ; Körver, S ; Phillips, G ; Sharma, D ; Herron, L-M ; O'Reilly, G ; Mitchell, R ; Kendino, M ; Poloniati, P ; Kafoa, B ; Cox, M (Elsevier BV, 2022-08)
    BACKGROUND: This study explores emergency care (EC) and other frontline healthcare worker (HCW) experiences responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Pacific region. The crisis has reinforced the crucial role well-trained, resourced, and supported EC providers play in supporting vital health systems and services in all global regions not only during 'business as usual' periods, but in times of tremendous stress and surge. METHODS: Qualitative data were collected from EC providers and relevant stakeholders in three research phases in 2020 and 2021. Data on the World Health Organization's (WHO) Human Resources Building Block, adapted for the Pacific EC context, was thematically analysed. Key findings were further analysed to identify enablers and barriers to effective EC pandemic management. FINDINGS: 116 participants from across the Pacific region participated in this study. Five themes emerged: (1) EC providers performed multiple pandemic roles; (2) Importance of authorities' valuing frontline HCWs; (3) HCW mental health and exhaustion; (4) HCW tension managing stigma, personal/professional expectations, and chronic health needs; and (5) Building health and human resource capacity. INTERPRETATION: This study significantly contributes to the limited scientific literature on HCW experiences responding to COVID-19 across the Pacific. Recommendations arising out of this research align with consensus priorities and standards that were identified pre-pandemic by health stakeholders across the Pacific for enhancing EC system development. With limited HCWs available for many Pacific nations, it is imperative the dignity and welfare of local HCWs is genuinely prioritised. FUNDING: Epidemic Ethics/WHO, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office/Wellcome Grant 214711/Z/18/Z. Co-funding: Australasian College for Emergency Medicine Foundation, International Development Fund Grant.
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    Utility of measurable residual disease for predicting treatment outcomes with BCR- and BCL2-Targeted therapies in patients with CLL
    Wierda, WG ; Kipps, TJ ; Al-Sawaf, O ; Chyla, B ; Biondo, JML ; Mun, Y ; Jiang, Y ; Seymour, JF (TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2022-08-18)
    Inhibitors targeting B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling pathway proteins and B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL2) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) are recommended in the first-line and relapsed/refractory disease settings. Measurable residual disease (MRD) is an important prognostic tool in patients treated with the BCL2-targeted agent, venetoclax. We explored the relationship between MRD status and progression-free (PFS)/overall survival (OS) in patients with CLL, following treatment with novel BCR- and BCL2-targeted agents. Compared with chemoimmunotherapy, higher rates of undetectable (u)MRD were achieved with BCL2-targeted therapies; achieving uMRD status was associated with longer PFS and OS than MRD-positivity. Continuous treatment with BCR-targeted agents did not achieve uMRD status in many patients, and outcomes were not correlated with uMRD status. Future clinical trials of targeted treatment combinations could be designed to demonstrate uMRD as a treatment objective, and allow a response-driven, personalized strategy to optimize treatment and improve OS outcomes.
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    Development of a distributed international patient data registry for hairy cell leukemia
    Andritsos, LA ; Anghelina, M ; Neal, J ; Blachly, JS ; Mathur, P ; Lele, O ; Dearden, C ; Iyengar, S ; Cross, M ; Zent, CS ; Rogers, KA ; Epperla, N ; Lozanski, G ; Oakes, CC ; Kraut, E ; Ruppert, AS ; Zhao, Q ; Bhat, SA ; Forconi, F ; Banerji, V ; Handunnetti, S ; Tam, CS ; Seymour, JF ; Else, M ; Kreitman, RJ ; Saven, A ; Call, T ; Parikh, SA ; Ravandi, F ; Johnston, JB ; Tiacci, E ; Troussard, X ; Tallman, MS ; Dietrich, S ; Tadmor, T ; Gozzetti, A ; Zinzani, PL ; Robak, T ; Quest, G ; Demeter, J ; Rai, K ; Fernandez, SA ; Grever, M (TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2022-09-05)
    Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is a rare lymphoproliferative disorder, comprising only 2% of all leukemias. The Hairy Cell Leukemia Foundation (HCLF) has developed a patient data registry to enable investigators to better study the clinical features, treatment outcomes, and complications of patients with HCL. This system utilizes a centralized registry architecture. Patients are enrolled at HCL Centers of Excellence (COE) or via a web-based portal. All data are de-identified, which reduces regulatory burden and increases opportunities for data access and re-use. To date, 579 patients have been enrolled in the registry. Efforts are underway to engage additional COE's to expand access to patients across the globe. This international PDR will enable researchers to study outcomes in HCL in ways not previously possible due to the rarity of the disease and will serve as a platform for future prospective research.
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    Preliminary efficacy and safety analysis: 12-month results in 83 patients using a novel approach of widefield radiation therapy for extensive skin field cancerization with or without keratinocyte cancers
    Potter, AE ; Baker, C ; Shumack, S ; Sinclair, R ; Curran, WJ ; Christie, D ; Wong, B ; Foley, P ; O'Brien, P ; Spelman, L (TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2022-05-20)
    PURPOSE: Evaluate the use of widefield radiation therapy (RT) in the management of extensive skin field cancerization (ESFC) with/without keratinocyte cancer (KC). METHODS: The National Dermatology Radiation Oncology Registry is a multidisciplinary collaboration (dermatologists and radiation oncologists). It captures disease description, prior therapies, radiation prescription, clinical effect, skin cosmesis scores, and toxicity data. This analysis included 12-month follow-up data on 89 treated fields from a subset of 83 patients. RESULTS: Clinical success (>90% field clearance) was 96% (ESFC, n = 63) and 88% (ESFC with KC, n = 26). Complete lesion response was seen in 96% of evaluable (n = 25) ESFC with KC. Recurrence (4/89 [5%]) and appearance of new lesions (10/89 [11%]) were minimal. Cosmetic outcome was excellent/good in 98% ESFC and 96% ESFC with KC. Grade 1-2 acute radiation dermatitis occurred in up to 80% of treated fields. The frequency of Grade 3 acute skin toxicities was low. CONCLUSIONS: Registry data demonstrate the potential for widefield RT to treat patients with significant skin pathology who have exhausted other therapies and require durable, minimally invasive treatment options. At 12 months, observed clinical success rates were higher than those reported for topical interventions for ESFC. Ongoing follow-up is required to determine longer term outcomes.