As I sit in a hotel just outside Canberra airport I have the opportunity to reflect on my visit to Australia and everything that I have done at TSANZ. Our Editors Haydn and Julia Walters were brilliant hosts (including an invitation to join them for dinner on Friday evening and then to go and see the Brumbies playing rugby at the end of the day on Saturday).
But the main reasons to come to Canberra were to catch up with editors face-to-face, to run the training workshop on Saturday (including a demonstration of using GIV outcomes and the calculator in RevMan). I took a picture of an Echidna to go with the bit on GIV outcomes. The reason for this is that GIV has to be handled carefully and can lead to painful experiences if you do not know what you are doing!
We also managed a live demonstration of using GRADEPRO.gdt online and Julia went on to demonstrate Covidence too. She found it good for inclusion of studies and extracting characteristics, but limited for data extraction as it was not designed for GIV data entry. Moreover it comes with a health warning for updates, as an import into RevMan will overwrite the existing review!
The Editors’ meeting followed, and I gave an update on the NIHR report from the UK funders. Good news was that there is not going to be any cut in funding, but equally we heard that staying the same was not an option. We await the mid-year meeting in Geneva to find out a bit more about what the new organisation of Cochrane Groups (into clusters of some sort) will look like.
At the EBM session on Sunday I gave a presentation outlining the evidence from four recent Cochrane reviews and looking at some of the challenges in terms of translating the evidence into practice. This included the mixed results of the update for Pulmonary Rehab after acute exacerbations of COPD. Jennifer Alison also gave a presentation on the Australia and New Zealand Guidelines on Pulmonary Rehab and Narelle Cox outlined the results of a systematic review that she had done with Anne Holland looking at barriers and facilitators to referral uptake and participation in Pulmonary Rehabilitation. This turns out to be important, but also complex!
Before first light on Tuesday morning I was getting up to prepare for a breakfast discussion for delegates who wanted to chat with a mixed group of journal editors. Finding Peer reviewers remains a challenge across the field!
I found out a good deal about Obstructive Sleep Apnoea at lunchtime and discovered that the authors of a big long term trial of CPAP have submitted their own Systematic review for publication following their trial (to a journal and under review). Also the published systematic review by Hayley Barnes on positional therapy was discussed. I think we are still waiting for the authors of the Cochrane review to complete on this topic after several years… (Frustrating all round)!
The conference dinner rounded off the day and now it’s time to try to get home, which has required me to book a new flight as my plane was on the runway with the engine being repaired! Ah well, I guess none of us knows what is around the corner.
PS Excellent news has just come through that the Governing Body has approved funding for the Australian Satellite for the next year, whilst alternative longer term sources of funding are being sought.