Research and digital platforms for neglected women’s health conditions supported by MRFF

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New funding is vital to translate the latest international evidence-based guidelines in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), early menopause (EM) and infertility.

Monash University’s Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI) has been awarded close to $3M from the Medical Research Future Funds (MRFF) to address neglected women’s health conditions and scale up its women’s digital health innovation platform.

The funding is vital to translate the latest international evidence-based guidelines in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), early menopause (EM) and infertility that are led by the MCHRI team and funded through the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Women’s Health in Reproductive Life.  It will enhance clinical management, and improve the diagnosis, screening and management of these common, but neglected, women’s reproductive disorders.

“This MRFF grant will bolster our existing suite of world-leading, evidence-based ASK Apps that already reach over 40,000 women in 190 countries,” said MRFF grant Chief Investigators Associate Professor Lisa Moran and Professor Helena Teede.

The research team builds on already established national and international stakeholder networks updating the international guidelines in the conditions.

“We will extend the use and functionality of the ASK Apps with evidence from international guidelines for improving diagnosis, screening, symptom tracking, lifestyle and medical management to improve health outcomes and deliver impact”, said Associate Professor Moran.

Monash Health Clinician and Endocrinologist Professor Helena Teede said that the ASK Apps will be enriched for clinician use to enhance shared care and decision-making during patient consultations.

“For too long, women have had delayed diagnosis, been exposed to swathes of misinformation and lacked access to high-quality patient-centred and integrated care. These tools are a key component of a strategy to overcome these gaps. As we extend the Apps into interactive clinical tools, this enables women and health professionals to work in partnership to set shared priorities, share symptom and lifestyle patterns and track data,” said Professor Teede.

Susanne Baker, a software engineer and MCHRI’s Head of Digital Health and App Platform Development, has been instrumental in developing the Ask App suite.

“Our team is excited about scaling up these popular co-designed apps, “ said Ms Baker, Chief Investigator on the project with over 15 years of industry experience as a software development project lead.

“ We’ve done extensive user and acceptability testing and we understand the expectations and gaps, we know what engages and how to translate evidence and data into usable information for clinicians and women.”

Partnering with Monash Health’s PCOS, EM and infertility clinics, the team will test the new clinical component in the state-wide health services.  They will also conduct an economic implementation analysis to identify the real-world cost-effectiveness and capture the full costs of implementation for health services and health outcomes. PCOS affects up to 13% of women and costs Australia >$800  million/year nationally.  EM occurs in women under 45 years, either spontaneously or as a result of medical treatments, including cancer treatments and affects 10-15% of women.  Infertility affects 10-15% of couples.

Ask PCOS

www.askpcos.org

39k users in 190 countries

Ask Early Menopause

www.askearlymenopause.org

2.8k users in 73 countries. Launched in 2022

Ask Infertility

available in 2024

Enquiries: info.mchri@monash.edu

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