Innovative online resources support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector

  • Well mob screen capture and HealthinfoNet 24 years graphic

These days, there is so much research and other information being produced that most health practitioners find it difficult to keep up to date with the latest developments. For over 24 years the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet’s in-house, custom-built, responsively designed website has been at the forefront of not only providing freely accessible online resources to support the health workforce, but also ensuring it’s evidenced-based.

The HealthInfoNet has provided a suite of knowledge exchange products, tools and resources as part of their digital evolution strategy, that recognises users require access to information in a variety of formats that capitalise on emerging information technologies. The HealthInfoNet’s work, which falls broadly in the area of implementation research, is concerned with ensuring that the results of research reach those in the sector to inform their everyday policy and practice. This is also known as knowledge-exchange research. It aims to make research and other information available in a form that has immediate, practical utility for practitioners and policymakers in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and it uses technology and innovation to deliver this. A cornerstone of effective knowledge exchange is information that is timely, accessible and relevant, to support and inform a time-poor health workforce.

A suite of knowledge exchange resources produced in house includes:

  • Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status – an annual report that includes information on illness, hospitalisations and deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Topics covered include chronic diseases, social and emotional wellbeing, ear and eye health, infectious diseases, and health risk and protective factors (such as alcohol use and nutrition)
  • Summary of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status – an infographic version of the overview
  • health topic reviews
  • animated and static infographics, webinars and short films
  • social media channels utilised as a knowledge-exchange activity with each touchpoint being a learning opportunity. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media platforms are integrated to provide a range of opportunities for collaboration, relationship building and information sharing
  • design and content for custom-built websites for WellMob and Tackling Indigenous Smoking that were designed in consultation with community and are specifically tailored for those workforce groups
  • the Journal of the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet – a peer-reviewed, open-access, online journal that shares multidisciplinary knowledge and research about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. The Journal facilitates access to information to support those working in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, helping to improve health outcomes by providing evidence to inform practice and policy
  • a separate website for the Alcohol and other Drugs Knowledge Centre
  • portals on subjects such as palliative care, healing and environmental health.

The work of the HealthInfoNet is guided by a number of principles that ensure the work is an authentic partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other stakeholders. These include engaging with users to co-design, co-construct and co-produce resources that meet their needs in culturally responsive and safe ways, as well as striving to enact socially transformative, decolonising and socially just practice.

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