Tuesday, 13 August 2019 11:58

Sydney Local Health uses Qlik-powered app for back pain treatment

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Qlik STARS backpain app Qlik STARS backpain app

Healthcare group Sydney Local Health District (SLHD) has utilised a Qlik-powered app which enables its healthcare professionals to reduce opioid use and to improve the effectiveness in treatment of lower back pain.

Qlik says the STARS Back Pain App provides ED clinicians with key information relevant to the management of lower back pain, while also efficiently providing a mechanism to identify and explore any clinical variation.

And Qlik says the app is driving positive changes in clinical practice through audit and continuous feedback, helping to avoid the inappropriate use of tests and treatment for lower back pain, which in the past has included the prescription of dangerous opioids.

Qlik says it is estimated that 540 million people worldwide are affected by back pain at any one time, while in Australia more than 3.7 million people experienced this type of pain – and a study by Monash University, indicated that back pain reduces Australia’s GDP by $3.2 billion a year.

“Building this application in Qlik has brought people in our organisation together and started some really valuable conversations. Through the collaboration of our research team with the clinicians and performance unit, we can now see what part of the intervention worked, what didn't, and what we can change moving forward,” said Dr Bethan Richards, Director of Rheumatology at RPA Hospital.

Dr Richards - who led a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, researchers and IT specialists, to design the STARS Back Pain App – said “One of the best things about this app is that each individual can ask their own questions, interrogate the data, and arrive at conclusions without doing extensive and time-consuming audits.”

In use across three participating emergency departments across NSW including RPA Hospital, Concord Repatriation General Hospital and Canterbury Hospital, Qlike says the STARS Back Pain App provides clinicians with a summary of patients with lower back pain while highlighting clinical variations.

“Through access to the app, healthcare professionals can now compare data across hospitals, which ignites conversations about trends, prescription rates and overall patient care,” Qlik says.

“With the type of benchmarking now available, clinicians can see how they're performing against other hospitals,” said Charlie Farah, Director, Healthcare & Public Sector APAC at Qlik.

“This leads to changes in behaviour without intervention. Healthcare professionals have been empowered to start asking questions on their own and debunk myths they have about their performance: Why are we different? Is it that we're getting sicker patients at this hospital versus another hospital? The data initiates a conversation and starts to create its own momentum.”

Dr Gustavo Machado, Research Fellow at the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health’s NHMRC, who led the emergency department trial of the app, notes that “data can be used for evidence-based management of back pain, which means we can ensure our patients are receiving the best care possible”.

“In addition, clinicians are more likely to use the platform because it gives them a view on their own real-world data. The data is in front of them and ready to be leveraged. The app has already changed the way clinicians in our trial are treating patients.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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