PEOPLE CARE MORE ABOUT EMERGENCY ROOM WAIT TIMES THAN RESEARCH RIGHT?
For more than a century, standard care for heart attacks – one of the biggest causes of death in Australia – was the use of supplementary oxygen. That was until recently, when Australian research demonstrated that in some cases, supplemental oxygen was actually causing harm – increasing heart injury, and dangerous cardiac rhythms. Now, thanks to the widespread application of these results, the response to heart attacks has been drastically changed both here in Australia, and around the world.
Against the backdrop of examples like this, it’s unsurprising that a new poll has found some 88 per cent of people rate ‘research’ as the most important opportunity to improve our health system.
That’s ahead of reducing waiting times in emergency departments, which came out at 80 per cent.
CEO of Research Australia, Nadia Levin, said that the results clearly demonstrate the importance of health and medical research not only to doctors, nurses and scientists, but also to patients.
“Images of queued ambulances or people in emergency departments may make good headlines, but people know translating good research into practice is the critical goal,” said Levin.
“This poll shows a hunger in the community for our health system to be responsive to the latest research and to adapt its practices to take advantage of new discoveries as soon as possible.”
Ms Levin said there are many examples of critically important research that patients would benefit greatly from if they were translated to practice sooner.
“The AVOID Trial into heart attack treatment that I saw at the ACTA Trial of the Year Awards, from Monash University and Ambulance Victoria, was a great example of translation,” said Levin. “But there are also many examples of research that go unimplemented. This flies in the face of not only the researchers, but potential patients who want better treatments. We are talking about ensuring that good, proven research doesn’t go unused. Care based on first-class research that has been translated into medical practice is something that Australians care about, and it will save Australian lives.”
The poll was conducted by Roy Morgan on behalf of Research Australia, an alliance of 160 organisations in the health and medical research sector.