Towards a prompt response network for Australia: coordinated and rapid health communication about events of concern related to emerging drugs
There is significant delay in detecting and responding to increased health problems related to emerging substances in Australia. Nationally, uncoordinated health responses, anti-public health media misrepresentation and stigmatisation contribute to a setting of disparity in quality and access to information. Recent cases have highlighted this lack of capacity, making urgent the development of an operational information exchange mechanism which involves various stakeholders - particularly including consumers - and provides timely notification and communication of events of potential clinical and public health relevance.
The National Centre for Clinical Research on Emerging Drugs (NCCRED) was established to engage stakeholders in a coordinated response. NCCRED, collaborating with key sector stakeholders, has undertaken a scoping and mapping exercise identifying the range of systems established nationally and internationally, drawing features from these to propose a system suitable for the Australian context (the Prompt Response Network).
This presentation will present findings from a scoping exercise on a range of systems established nationally and internationally, and describe the framework of a system suitable for the Australian context. Consumer focused, the Prompt Response Network brings together a range of stakeholders and incorporates multiple information sources, including the potential of voluntary drug checking and other testing technologies not yet implemented at scale in Australia. The system will allow for open access online notification and prompt dissemination of reliable information and health communication, with a closed moderator group with access to sensitive and inconclusive information. Conclusions:
The system will contribute to timely notification of acute events of clinical and public health concern, building-on and sharing existing detection and response systems, and allowing rapid communication of evidence-based scientifically-sound data to inform policy and practice and provide public health messaging to consumers.